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2022 Davona Dale Stakes Replay And Reaction | HUGE Effort Puts Kathleen O. On Oaks Trail
Credit: Coglianese Photos / Nicole Thomas

2022 Davona Dale Stakes Replay And Reaction | HUGE Effort Puts Kathleen O. On Oaks Trail

The Racing Dudes team reacts to Kathleen O. winning Saturday’s Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park, then discuss who they like moving forward, including any potential longshots. Kathleen O. squarely put herself on the Kentucky Oaks (G1) trail with this effort. Join our replay watch-along and let us know your thoughts about the race in the Comments section!

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The track press release:

Winngate Stables LLC’s Kathleen O. kept her undefeated record intact Saturday at Gulfstream Park, rallying from last at the top of the stretch to win the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) going away by two lengths.

The Davona Dale, a mile race for 3-year-old fillies, was one of nine stakes on Gulfstream’s 13-race card during the inaugural 1/ST Saturday promotion that also featured six stakes at Santa Anita Park. The Davona Dale was the final major prep for the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks April 2.

Kathleen O., the 2-1 favorite in a field of seven, won her third straight race and second stakes in a row with Hall of Famer Javier Castellano aboard. The daughter of Upstart earned 50 qualifying points for his year’s Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.

Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, Kathleen O. lagged off a sharp early pace set by Mi Negrita, chased a few lengths back by Forward Gal (G3) winner Girl With a Dream during a 23.38-second quarter. After running a half-mile in 46.04, Mi Negrita met a two-pronged challenge on her outside from Girl With a Dream and Sweet Dani Girl on the turn. Three-wide Sweet Dani Girl took a narrow lead into the stretch as the field bunched up for the stretch run. After being blocked by a wall of horses at the top of the stretch, Kathleen O. was swung to the far outside, where the Kentucky-bred filly found room between horses and launched an impressive rally that would carry her to a comfortable score.

 Kathleen O, who ran a mile in 1:36.23, won her debut over a muddy Aqueduct track Nov. 12 before coming back to win the Jan. 1 Cash Run at Gulfstream by 8 ½ lengths at the one-turn mile distance.

Classy Edition, who had won three straight races in New York-bred company, finished second, 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Cocktail Moments.

                             $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) Quotes

            Winning Trainer Shug McGaughey: “She did break good today, but she just doesn’t have the speed to stay up with them. The way she finished, pretty remarkable, especially over this track. I think this is a big move for a filly coming into this race off just two starts. I mean, I hope she keeps improving. Today she had to make her room a little bit, so I’m sure she learned quite a bit today. That would be my preference to keep her here (for the Gulfstream Park Oaks) and not have to ship her for the Ashland (at Keeneland). I’m pleased so far. I would think that (increased distance to 1 1/16 miles) shouldn’t be a problem.”

           Winning Jockey Javier Castellano: “I liked the way she did it today. She doesn’t have the speed to be close to the horses, but I loved the way she finished. She always breaks slow out of the gate, but that’s her style. Every horse is different. Turning for home, I was loaded. I was just looking for the seam and trying to split horses and that’s exactly what I did.”