Phipps Stable’s Fly So High earned her third straight victory while making her stakes debut in Saturday’s $200,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park with regular rider Jose Ortiz in the irons.
After the finish, Fly So High was pulled up by Ortiz and vanned off. Early reports indicated it was a precautionary move and that the filly appeared fine and was cooling out well.
The Davona Dale is part of the Championship portion of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series and awarded Fly So High 50 points toward a starting berth in the May 4 Run for the Lilies at Churchill Downs.
Saturday’s scorer also saw conditioner Shug McGaughey earn the 2,000th win of his training career.
Fly So High broke from the far outside 8 post and stayed wide racing outside of Take Charge Paula as that one set the opening quarter in :24.37. The inside and rail were wide open as the pair continued on an outside trajectory and Alter Moon was quick to take advantage. The Alternation filly slid on up to take command on the backstretch through the half-mile in :47.79, but soon found company in the form of Heavenhasmynikki.
That chestnut daughter of Majestic Warrior wrested the advantage away from Alter Moon and proceeded to lead rounding the turn. Take Charge Paula finally angled over and found herself between rivals on the bend with Fly So High to her outside. A space opened up entering the stretch and Take Charge Paula sped through, but Fly So High had already kicked into gear.
The sophomore lass rallied on the outside to run down Heavenhasmynikki and score by three lengths on the wire as the 7-5 favorite. Fly So High completed a mile on the fast main track in 1:38.69 to return $4.80 for the win.
Take Charge Paula finished second by three parts of a length over Heavenhasmynikki, good for 20 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks. Third was worth 10 and a half-length farther back in fourth Sultry took home five points. Cache, Alter Moon, Sunny Skies and Miss Mo Mentum completed the order under the wire.
Fly So High is now 4-3-0-1, $190,180 in her career, having finished third in her debut at Belmont Park last October before breaking her maiden by 7 3/4 lengths a month later going a mile at Aqueduct. That was the bay filly’s juvenile finale and she returned last out on January 4 at Gulfstream to capture a one-mile allowance/optional claimer by 5 1/2 lengths.
Bred in Kentucky by Mt. Brilliant Broodmares II LLC, Fly So High is the first registered stakes winner out of the Quiet American mare Quiet Flight. The mare is a full sister to Grade 2-placed stakes heroine Quiet Dance, who foaled 2005 Horse of the Year and successful sire Saint Liam as well as Grade 2 queen Quiet Giant, herself the dam of reigning Horse of the Year and $15 million earner Gun Runner.
DAVONA DALE QUOTES
Shug McGaughey, trainer Fly So High, winner
“I couldn’t see anything major. (Jockey) Jose (Ortiz) said when he turned around he felt something a little funny. I thought she walked on the van sound. She was a bit bumped up obviously, so when I get back to the barn I’ll be able to tell more. As far as anything major, she didn’t palpate sore; she didn’t flex sore palpate. Maybe she did something to her foot or jammed something. But when I got over there it wasn’t like her leg filled up or anything like that.
“I thought Jose put her in good position. I told him in the paddock, ‘Once she gets her feet under her, they’ll have a tough time outsprinting her.”
On his milestone 2,000th training victory
“Obviously, I’m thrilled about it. There’s a tremendous amount of people to thank for it. I’m the guy who gets the credit, but there are a lot of people behind the scenes that deserve the credit.”
Jose Ortiz, jockey Fly So High, winner
“She felt a little sore in her left front. 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.”