HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Phipps Stable’s Fly So High third straight win was also number 2,000 for her Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, and what better race to do it than in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking well along the outside from post 8 under Jose Ortiz, Fly So High was forced even wider when Take Charge Paula broke outwardly from post 6. The two soon settled in the outer paths while Alter Moon and Heavenhasmynikki sat heads apart on the lead through fractions of :24.37 and :47.79. Making a wide move into the far turn, Fly So High hit the top of the stretch with a head lead over Heavenhasmynikki and Take Charge Paula. Under a strong drive from Ortiz, Fly So High cleared away to win by 3 lengths in a final time of 1:38.69 for the mile-long main track event.
“I thought Jose put her in good position,” said McGaughey, who won the initial running of the Davona Dale in 1988. “I told him in the paddock, ‘Once she gets her feet under her, they’ll have a tough time outsprinting her.’”
Take Charge Paula didn’t have the best trip, but she did manage to take second over a stubborn Heavenhasmynikki. Sultry ran well late to get fourth by a length over Cache, with Alter Moon a neck back in sixth. Sunny Skies and Miss Mo Mentum completed the order of finish.
The Davona Dale is part of the Road to the 2018 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Fly So High earned 50 points for the win, with Take Charge Paula receiving 20 for second, Heavenhasmynikki 10 for third, and Sultry 5 for fourth.
Fly So High’s win improved her record to 4-3-0-1 with earnings of $190,180, but McGaughey’s joy of hitting the milestone was short-lived. Just past the wire, Ortiz pulled up and dismounted the 3-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon after feeling something off.
“She felt a little sore in her left front,” Ortiz asid. “When I asked her to go, she was taking care of herself a little bit, but I felt like she had a chance to win, so I kept riding. She didn’t feel bad all the way, but when I pulled up and she jogged, she was a little off.”
Fly So High returned $4.80 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.40 to show. Take Charge Paula brought back $3.40 to place and $2.80 to show, while Heavenhasmynikki paid $4.80 to show.