Hennig brings Cache to the Davona Dale

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TwinSpires Staff

March 1st, 2018

by Dick Powell

Davona Dale was the champion three-year-old filly in 1979 who won the Bonnie Miss Stakes at Gulfstream Park early in her sophomore campaign. That win was followed by seven more, five of them in Grade 1 stakes.

She was a good second at 3-10 in the historic Alabama Stakes (G1) at Saratoga and trainer John Veitch brought the Calumet Farm runner back the next Saturday for the Travers Stakes (G1) against boys. A sloppy track and an unbeatable General Assembly was too much for her that day and she finished off the board.

The next time someone complains about a four-horse field, remind them about the 1980 Ballerina Stakes when Davona Dale pulled away from It’s in the Air, who was champion two-year-old filly and Alabama winner the year before; multiple graded stakes victress Misty Gallore; and stakes scorer Jedina, Fappiano’s half-sister.

Davona Dale was part of a resurgence for Calumet Farm under Veitch that included Alydar, Our Mims, Sugar and Spice and Before Dawn.

This year’s Davona Dale Stakes (G2) will be run at a one-turn mile on the dirt at Gulfstream Park as the 8TH race. Shug McGaughey has won it three times and FLY SO HIGH gives him a good chance for the grand slam.

The Phipps Stable rarely goes to the auction ring to buy fillies but they went to $675,000 in 2016 at Keeneland September for this daughter of Malibu Moon. She rallied for third in her career debut going six furlongs on a wet track at Belmont Park in October then came back a month later with first-time Lasix and broke her maiden by almost eight lengths at Aqueduct.

Fly So High wasn’t given any time off over the winter and showed up in early January here in an allowance race, which she won by more than five lengths. Her final time looks slow but it was one of those fast early/slow late races and she won going away while earning a BRIS Speed rating of 99. Off for eight weeks, she gets on the trail to the Kentucky Oaks (G1) in a perfect spot from an outside post with Jose Ortiz back aboard. This is the female family of the above-mentioned Misty Gallore.

There’s no telling how good CACHE is. Mark Hennig never used to win first time out, although that has changed lately. This $500,000 daughter of Distorted Humor was bet hard in her debut and she lived up to expectations despite breaking dead last from post two in a 12-runner field.

Cache showed some greenness in the stretch but she maintained her 2 1/2-length advantage to the wire and earned a BRIS Speed rating of 89. With the normal improvement expected of second-time starters and stretching out another furlong, she should be a major factor in here. One of her dam’s two wins came in a two-turn dirt stakes race at Tampa Bay Downs, and this is the family of champion Spain, who could run all day on the dirt.

The only graded stakes winner in the field is TAKE CHARGE PAULA, a daughter of Florida Derby (G1) winner Take Charge Indy. She won four times as a two-year-old, including three stakes races at different tracks for Kelly Breen, before switching to Kiaran McLaughlin and promptly winning the Forward Gal Stakes (G3) going seven furlongs here last month. She has strong early pace and should fit the one-turn mile distance.

I think there will be a pace duel between Take Charge Paula and Fly So High. This should benefit Cache, who should be able to stalk the pace and not fall too far behind with Javier Castellano. Speed continues to do well on the dirt going a mile at Gulfstream Park so Cache has to be in behind the leaders but Castellano has been making few mistakes lately.

I will bet Cache to win and protect her in exactas with Take Charge Paula and Fly So High over her.

The Mac Diarmada Stakes (G2) will be run as the 13TH race and the field of 12 is a tough group of hard-knocking turf routers. Mike Maker excels in these spots but the field is noticeably lacking early pace with the exception of ONE GO ALL GO. He just missed here two starts back in the shorter Fort Lauderdale Stakes (G2) then ran well in the Gulfstream Park Turf (G1) going nine furlongs. His career-best race came going 1 1/2 miles and he is worth a look at decent odds....