HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Away from the races since November, Miss Sky Warrior showed no rust as she held on determinedly for a half-length victory over Jordan’s Henny in the Grade 2, $200,000 Fasig-Tipton Davona Dale at Gulfstream Park on Saturday afternoon.
The one-mile Davona Dale marked the fourth consecutive stakes victory for the 3-year-old filly, who is owned by her breeder, Arlene London, and races under the nom-de-course Arlene’s Sun Star Stable.
Miss Sky Warrior, the 2-1 favorite was ridden by Paco Lopez, stalked the early leaders while running in an easy and steady rhythm down the backstretch. When her rider cued her at the top of the stretch, she willingly took the lead while racing three-wide.
Longshot Jordan’s Henny threatened to menace Miss Sky Warrior’s position of supremacy deep in the stretch, but had to settle for second in the 14-horse field, a neck in front of the third-place finisher, Summer Luck, who was gaining late. Modacious, Brahms Cat, Pretty City Dancer, Yes I’ll Go, Eloquent Riddle, Gran Cherry, From Ria to Riches, Ellie’s Honor, Champagne Problems, Aspen Hilltop, and Saratoga Citizen rounded out the order.
Racing off of the early leaders was a departure from Miss Sky Warrior’s more prominent style of running in her previous races.
“I know she has more speed, but I wanted to keep her in the middle of the track,” said Lopez, who has ridden the filly in each of her five career starts. “I stayed four or five lengths back. I waited and waited before I asked her. Someone came to the outside, and I hit her one time and she gave me her run.”
Trained by Kelly Breen, Miss Sky Warrior, a daughter of First Samurai, completed the distance in 1:38.49 over a fast track. As part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, Miss Sky Warrior earned 50 qualifying points on the win.
Breen said he is undecided about where he would like to run Miss Sky Warrior next, but indicated that the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 5 is very much on his mind.
“I like to think the further she goes, the better she goes,” Breen said. “She had a great post position  and was able to stalk [the leaders] from the outside. The stars were aligned, and everything worked out great.
“There will be some decisions to be made,” he added. “We’ll see how [Unique Bella] runs in California today. Maybe we have to step up our performance to run against her, and maybe we will meet up in the Kentucky Oaks. To have a horse of this caliber is a lot of fun.”
Miss Sky Warrior has now won four races from five starts. In addition to the Davona Dale, the Kentucky-bred won the Grade 3 Tempted and the two-turn Grade 2 Demoiselle at Aqueduct last fall. She broke her maiden at Parx Racing in October in her second career start.
Miss Sky Warrior returned $ 6.40, $4.80, and $3.40. Jordan’s Henny brought back $17.40 and $8.60, while Summer Luck paid $5.40 to show.
Source: Gulfstream Park