Photo: NYRA / Adam Coglianese
I can see the headlines now … Celebrity chef Bobby Flay sizzles in the ‘Ville … Dame Dorothy grills Oaks competition.
While the possibility of having the famous cuisinier celebrating a Kentucky Oaks win for the world to see might sound like a tasty proposition, the feat of Todd Pletcher training consecutive Pennsylvania-breds to victory in one of America’s most important races for fillies could be the even more fantastic sounding side story.
Of course, I am getting ahead of myself. It’s still three months from the Oaks, and the horse has to do most everything right from now until then to be rewarded with a blanket of lilies. Not to mention that Dame Dorothy has only a maiden victory, and today's optional claiming win under her belt, but anyone who has seen those two performances knows full well that Flay and Pletcher have something serious brewing in this daughter of Bernardini.
An impressive debut victory going seven panels on the main track at Aqueduct on Cigar Mile Day was a mere aperitif to whet the appetite for Dame Dorothy connoisseurs. Today, we witnessed a little more of what this young filly has under the hood.
In a race originally scheduled for the turf, Dame Dorothy was one of three promising fillies entered for main track only today at Gulfstream Park. With the Florida rains yielding a sloppy main course, their connections got their wish, and the race was switched to dirt. Sent off as the 5-2 third choice, Dame Dorothy broke well and raced well of the rail into the first turn of the 1 1/16 mile affair. Moving up effortlessly under Javier Castellano, the bay filly secured a comfortable stalking position behind the pacesetting Danalin through six furlongs in ‘11 and change.
When asked for a little on the far turn, Double D gave a lot. The early leader quickly became a foregone conclusion, and it was just a matter if race favorite, and Golden Rod runner-up, Bird Maker could offer any challenge from behind. The answer was a resounding no, as Dame Dorothy ran away and hid down the stretch. Streaking to the wire, she got there first by a dozen lengths in 1:44.26.
Some may say that the ‘off the turf’ nature of the race, and the speed favoring nature of the sloppy track make this a hard race to get overly excited about. While those factors did play into the final margin, I say no, this filly is for real. She coasts around the track like an expensive sports car, and will be a graded stakes winner before too long, in my opinion.
For what it’s worth, I still hold high hopes for the distant runner-up, Bird Maker, who clearly was at a tactical disadvantage today. Look for her to make some noise down the road, as well. But today, is all about Dame Dorothy.
Discount today’s performance at your own mistake, because this filly owned by celebrity chef, Bobby Flay, and trained by celebrity trainer, Todd Pletcher, is much more than smoke and mirrors. Look for Flay to be in attendance at Churchill Downs on the first Friday in May. Dame Dorothy is a Kentucky Oaks filly.