The Davona Dale Stakes was supposed to be a celebration of Dancinginherdreams but as it turned out Todd Pletcher brought in one of his fillies to crash the party.
In the Forward Gal Stakes (gr.2) R Heat Lightning
finished a dull fourth behind Pomeroy’s Pistol and Dancinginherdreams as one of the favorites. In the Davona Dale Stakes she turned things around in a big way.
Breaking cleanly from the gate R Heat Lightning with John Velasquez up rated just off the pacesetter and to the inside of Dancinginherdreams down the backstretch in the 1 mile test. On the front end Forward Gal winner Pomeroy’s Pistol pressed Hot Summer from second through fractions of :23.92 and :46.53.
Rounding the far turn Pomeroy’s Pistol took over as Dancinginherdreams
began to advance on the pacesetter, running much closer to the pace than usual. On the Inside R Heat Lightning moved with Dancinginherdreams to the top of the stretch and then shot her way through on rail to seize the lead. It appeared for a moment that Dancinginherdreams was prepared to launch another impressive late run like she had in the Forward Gal but the spark never showed this time as the Tapit filly fought tooth and nail with Pomeroy’s Pistol to gain second by a head at the wire. Up front R Heat Lighting had run away to a 7 ¼ length win, her first since taking the Spinaway Stakes (gr.1) at Saratoga on September 5th
, and proved herself a worthy Kentucky Oaks contender in the process.
Trainer Todd Pletcher has made it clear that R Heat Lightning’s main goal is the Kentucky Oaks on May 6th, her next start could come in the Gulfstream Oaks (gr.2), previously known as the Bonnie Miss Stakes. She certainly proved her 2-year-old form, where she won a Grade 1 and finished second to Awesome Feather in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, was no fluke. It makes me wonder how good Champion 2-Year-Old Filly Awesome Feather really is, let’s hope she makes a speedy and healthy comeback.
Dancinginherdreams appeared to be a different filly in the Davona Dale. It was the only start of her life where the almost-white filly was not flying at the end to make it a close race. She was placed much closer to the pace in the Davona Dale than she has been in her previous starts where she almost always comes from far-back if not last and I think that killed her patented late kick. With a little more distance I am confident she will wind up in the winner’s circle again and prove she is still a leading Kentucky Oaks contender.
Pomeroy’s Pistol is proving to be as consistent as she is classy and tough to beat. She held on very well to take third in the Davona Dale behind Dancinginherdreams.
This weekend the Santa Anita Oaks will be run, don’t forget to stop by on Friday to check for a comprehensive review of the race and the contenders.
The Novel Nine:
1) Kathmanblu – Still not threatened in her leading position, as of now she has a stranglehold on the 3-year-old filly division. She’ll be heading to the Fair Grounds Oaks for her next start on March 26th and I would bet she will be looking a lot sharper than she did in her Rachel Alexandra Stakes win.
2) Dancinginherdreams – Still have faith in the beautiful daughter of Tapit. Her patented late run was completely nixed by being held so close to the leaders in the Davona Dale but she still ran very gamely to take second over Pomeroy’s Pistol. It’s time to give her a little more distance, I still feel she is one of the best fillies in the nation.
3) R Heat Lightning – She may have looked dull finishing 4th in the Forward Gal Stakes in late January but she sharpened up like a razor for the Davona Dale. You have to love the way she exploded from off the pace to win by more than 7.
4) Zazu – Heading for a showdown with Turbulent Descent in the Santa Anita Oaks (gr.1) this weekend. Should be a sterner test than the Las Virgenes was but she looks ready.
5) Turbulent Descent – Looks to reclaim her West Coast crown in the Santa Anita Oaks this weekend and if she can pull off an “R Heat Lightning” by improving drastically off her first start of the year the race should be hers.
6) Inglorious – She hasn’t done anything since finishing second to Kathmanblu in the Rachel Alexandra and there is still no next start announced but you can bet she will run a better race than she did in the Rachel Alexandra with all the condition she recieved.
7) Gran Lioness – Like Inglorious she hasn’t worked since finishing third in the Rachel Alexandra and no race has been targeted for her next start.
8) It’s Tricky – Undefeated winner of the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct on February 20th by an easy 8 lengths. It’s Tricky has the potential to go all the way and the pedigree to go with it. No works have been recorded since her last win and her next start is undetermined as of now.
9) Pomeroy’s Pistol - She ran pretty well in the Davona Dale Stakes, too well to keep off this list again especially since she finished just a head behind Dancinginherdreams after defeating her in the Forward Gal. She might have some distance issues but for now she’s been all class.
Royal Delta, A Z Warrior and Alec’s Moon.