Onlyforyou Stays Perfect in $200,000 Davona Dale (G2)
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Other than a few seconds in the starting gate before the doors opened, there were no anxious moments for trainer Todd Pletcher in Saturday’s $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Onlyforyou ran her record to 4-0 with a front-running 2 ¼-length victory in the 30th edition of the 3-year-old filly stake, hitting the wire in 1:43.71 for 1 1/16 miles. The victory was the fourth on the day for Pletcher, and fifth for jockey Javier Castellano.
Owned by Glencrest Farm, Onlyforyou ($4.20) went off as the even-money favorite in a field of eight. After being loaded into the gate, she acted up briefly and forced Castellano to hop off before climbing back aboard. “After that, I thought she was pretty much in control,” Pletcher said. “She is usually pretty professional. It’s something we’ve been working on in the morning because every once in a while she’ll get a little excited, but luckily it wasn’t too bad.”
Onlyforyou broke sharply from post three and was able to work her way over to the rail, where she led through a solid pace of 24.17 seconds for a quarter-mile, 47.23 for the half and 1:11.27 through six furlongs, with House Rules to her right flank.
Castellano and Onlyforyou began to pull clear rounding the far turn and entered the stretch with a clear lead, cruising to the wire after running a mile in 1:36.64. House Rules stayed on for second, a half-length in front of Aurelia’s Belle.
It was 11 ¼ lengths back to Grade 2-placed Penwith in fourth, followed under the line by Stopchargingmaria, Luna Santa, Abou and Holiday Magic.
“I had a beautiful trip,” Castellano said. “I expected to be on the pace. She really blew out of the gate. My only concern was the two turns, and she responded today. It was a great effort the way she did it. She set strong fractions at the beginning of the race and she was under pressure the whole race. She handled it so well.” Onlyforyou broke her maiden at Aqueduct on Nov. 10 and has reeled off three straight wins at Gulfstream, capturing an entry-level allowance on Dec. 15 and the seven-furlong Forward Gal (G2) on Jan. 25, the latter in similar gate-to-wire fashion.
“She’s got natural speed, and we don’t want to take away from her,” Pletcher said. “We let her break and see how she got to the first turn. She luckily broke well after misbehaving in the gate a little bit and was able to get into the position we wanted. [House Rules] ran a big race and put some pressure on her down the backside, and she was able to keep finding a little more.”
The Davona Dale was Onlyforyou’s longest trip to date and first around two turns, which was Pletcher’s primary concern.
“After she got by the wire, she kind of pricked her ears like there might still be something left,” Pletcher said. “It looked like she handled the mile and a sixteenth today. We’ll see how she comes out of it. Having already won here three times now, it’d be hard to think about taking her anywhere else.”
Pletcher also saddled multiple graded stakes winner Stopchargingmaria, making her first start since taking the Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct on Nov. 30.
“I didn’t get a chance to talk to [jockey John Velazquez],” he said. “She got a very wide trip into the first turn from post eight, and coming off a layoff I think that hurt her quite a bit.”