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Grace Hall Begins Oaks Quest in Davona Dale

Michael Dubb and partners’ Grace Hall, last seen finishing second to the brilliant My Miss Aurelia in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4 for trainer Anthony Dutrow, is set to launch a new campaign Saturday as the favorite and horse to beat in the $250,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park.

 

The Davona Dale for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles will share the spotlight on an outstanding card Saturday with the highly-anticipated match-up of 2011 Eclipse champion 3-year-old filly Royal Delta and Awesome Maria in the $100,000 Sabin Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) winner Perfect Shirl returning in the $100,000 The Very One Stakes (G3) at 1 3/8 miles on turf.
 
 
Jockey Ramon Dominguez rides Grace Hall in a field of nine drawn for the Davona Dale, a race her connections hope will lead to a trip to Kentucky in the spring for the Kentucky Oaks (G1). A daughter of Empire Maker purchased for $95,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sales, Grace Hall won all three of her previous starts before the Breeders’ Cup, including the Spinaway Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
 
 
“We’ve had this race picked out for her comeback for some time,” said Dutrow Wednesday morning. “Everything in her training has gone on schedule. She’s filled out and matured mentally from last year to now. The goal for her is the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and hopefully this will be the first step to get her there.”
 
 
Grace Hall’s leading rivals appear to be Glencrest Farm’s Disposablepleasure with jockey Julien Laparoux aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher and Darley Stable’s Captivating Lass to be ridden by John Velazquez for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin.
 
 
Disposablepleasure is also making her first start of the season after closing out her juvenile campaign with a hard-fought head victory in the Demoiselle Stakes (G2) going 1 1/8 miles at Aqueduct on Nov. 26. The roan/gray daughter of Giacomo broke her maiden by 11 lengths at Belmont Park in early October after a fourth-place debut on turf at Saratoga and runner-up effort on the main track at Monmouth Park.
 
 
Captivating Lass will have an edge on recent form after winning the Busanda Stakes on Jan. 7 going one mile and 70 yards at Aqueduct and shipping down to Palm Meadows shortly thereafter. The Kentucky homebred by A.P. Indy won her career debut at Parx in October, but finished a non-threatening seventh behind Disposablepleasure in her only two previous starts.
 
 
Completing the field for the Davona Dale are Mark Grier’s Nuffsaid Nuffsaid, Jose Lezcano; James Connors and partners’ The Cat’s All That, Paco Lopez; Stride Rite Racing Stable’s Frolic’s Revenge, Juan Leyva; Peras International’s Yara, J.L. Castanon; Barb Pirie’s Taker Home, Luis Contreras; and Joel Kligman’s Salad Girl, Elvis Trujillo.
 

 

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