Live Lively Goes Gate To Wire To Win Davona Dale
Lee Lewis' Live Lively, making her first start around two turns, led from start to finish Saturday to win the $250,000 Davona Dale (G2) by 1 1/4 lengths over the 4-5 favorite Dreaming of Julia. Private Ensign was third.
Live Lively, a 3-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro who won last time out at seven furlongs by 11 1/4 lengths, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.30 under jockey Joel Rosario. Live Lively, bred in Kentucky by Edward Cox Jr., has now won three consecutive starts for trainer Mark Hennig.
Breaking cleanly from the gate, Rosario guided Live Lively three-wide going into the first turn and quickly took a three-length lead into the backstretrch while setting fractions of :23.54, :46.77 and 1:10 21. Despite a game effort to catch the winner by Dreaming of Julia and jockey John Velazquez, it wasn't enough to catch the winner.
“I figured she’d fall out of there (and go to the lead) it was just a matter if somebody was going to go with here," Hennig said. "She’s got a good turn of foot and she’s never showed us any lack of stamina. I figured if they tried to run with here it might have been a tall task. I was pleased. She couldn’t have prepared any better for this and I was expecting a big race out of her."
Said Rosario; "She did it so easily in front the whole way just trying to save some for the end. I wasn't sure about the distance, but she looks like she can do anything. Every time she looks better and better and keeps improving,
Dreaming of Julia, who won the first three starts of her career, including the Frizette (G1) at Belmont Park in October, before finishing third Nov. 2 in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1), was game in defeat.
"I thought she ran extremely well, we were sort of at the mercy of the pace scenario, so I think we had to take her out of her comfort zone earlier than we wanted to try and keep some pressure on the winner," said trainer Todd Pletcher of Dreaming of Julia. "The winner was too good and we were just second best of the day. I was very happy with it, for her first start since the Breeder's Cup and spotting six pounds to some quality fillies, I thought it was a very good effort off the layoff."
Hennig said the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks March 30 could be Live Lively's next start. “She’s seems to love training at Palm Meadows and when she comes down here she looks like a picture in the paddock. She never gets stirred up by the shipping. I don’t see any point to running around to another racetrack at this point."
Previous winners of the Davona Dale include Wait a While, R Heat Lightning, Amen Hallelujah, Three Ring and Christmas Kid.