Photo: NYRA / Adam Coglianese
When last seen, the Todd Pletcher-trained Dame Dorothy closed out the month of January by undressing a small but solid field of three-year-old fillies in an optional claimer at Gulfstream Park. The twelve length victory in the slop over Bird Maker, and the rest, immediately announced the unbeaten filly as a major player on the road to the Kentucky Oaks. A physical setback ended that dream, but today in Erie, PA, the potential star returned in the pink with a four-length victory in the $75,000 Malvern Rose Stakes at Presque Isle Downs.
Granted the Bobby Flay owned filly did not venture into the hottest portion of the kitchen for her first race back in more than six months, and her stakes debut, but the easy victory in the race for Pennsylvania-bred fillies did little to put a damper on the high expectations for the good looking bay daughter of Bernardini.
After breaking a half-step slow and getting bumped just a hair coming out of the gate, Dame Dorothy quickly got into stride to gain clear sailing on the outside and in fifth as the field of seven made their way into the first turn of the 8 ½ furlong affair. She relaxed early as she fell about six or seven lengths off the early pace, before moving between horses on the backstretch to gain a good outside striking position heading into the far turn.
Dame Dorothy continued to reel in the leaders and was confidently swung wide on the turn for home. From there, she pounced three wide early in the stretch, as the entire field bunched up. It looked like the second choice, Bound, who was coming off a smart score in her first race over the Presque Isle oval, might give her a run at the eighth pole, but when asked by rider Willie Martinez the 9-10 favorite responded in kind. She quickly opened up her lead as she ducked in a few paths, before cruising home an easy winner.
All in all, it was a good performance by a filly with a huge upside. Interestingly, in just three starts, Dame Dorothy has now won on a fast main track (Aqueduct), on the aforementioned sloppy track, and as of yesterday, over an all-weather surface. Things will get much tougher from here, and she will certainly need to improve off this effort if she is going to successfully tackle the big girls.
In my opinion, she is most likely not quite ready for the likes of Untapable and Sweet Reason, but as a first race back, this relatively easy victory, in which she had to overcome a few obstacles, should do her a world of good as she moves forward to the more important races of the fall. I still believe she has the potential to be a grade 1 filly.