DAVONA DALE STAKES | PURSE: $250,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES | GRADE 2 | 1 1/16 MILES
Peres International's Yara reclaimed the lead from odds-on favorite Grace Hall at the top of the stretch and held her off to post a shocking 64-1 upset in the $250,000 Davona Dale Feb. 25 at Gulfstream Park.
Fourth and beaten more than 22 lengths in the Jan. 29 Forward Gal to begin her 3-year-old season, Calder-based Yara had much more to say in the 1 1/16-mile Davona Dale, which was her third victory in six lifetime starts. Jesus Castanon guided the daughter of Put It Back for trainer Jose Garoffalo.
A winner by a neck, she completed the distance on a fast main track in 1:43.41. The chestnut filly was bred in Florida by Brambly Lane Farm and Steve Dwoskin, and is out of the Gilded Time mare Ashlee's Lady.
Grace Hall, runner-up in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juveniles Fillies in November, was also making her season debut. With Ramon Dominguez in the irons, Grace Hall broke from post 2 and raced just to the inside of Yara through an opening quarter-mile in :23.79. Dominguez then made the tactical decision to send Grace Hall to the front, which was fine with Castanon, who sat just off the new leader on the outside through a half-mile in :47.71 and three-quarters in 1:12.38.
Grace Hall turned for home with a narrow advantage, but when they reached the eighth-pole Yara reclaimed her lead. It was a duel all the way to the wire, but Yara never relinquished the lead again. Grace Hall, sent off at 4-5 for trainer Tony Dutrow, was 3 1/2 lengths in front of third-place Captivating Lass in the field of nine sophomore fillies.
Yara, purchased for $24,000 at the OBS 2011 spring sale of 2-year-olds in training when consigned by Nickajack/Rey de Oros, agent, won twice at Calder as a juvenile including the Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies Stakes in November. She has now earned $263,920.
The winner returned a whopping $131, $38, and $14.40. The exacta (6-2) returned $530 and the trifecta (6-2-3) was worth $1,473.70 for $1.