Although he scratched leading Fountain of Youth (G2) contender Chance It early in the afternoon, trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. didn’t walk away empty handed from the plethora of stakes action at Gulfstream Park on Saturday as Tonalist’s Shape led all the way in the $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) for 3-year-old fillies.
A one-turn mile Road to the Kentucky Oaks series prep, the Davona Dale rewarded Oaks qualifying points of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers. Tonalist’s Shape improved her record to 5-for-5 and boosted her point total to 60 with a 1 1/4-length win over 3-5 favorite Spice Is Nice.
Leading narrowly through splits of :23.84, :46.93, and 1:11.26, Tonalist’s Shape found another gear when taken on by Spice Is Nice in upper stretch and edged away to win under Tyler Gaffalione in a time of 1:36.77 over a fast track.
Owned by Slam Dunk Racing, Doug Branham, and Legacy Ranch, Tonalist’s Shape paid $6.20. Spice Is Nice, coming off a 12-length maiden win, finished 2 3/4 lengths clear of Dream Marie, who was 7 1/2 lengths ahead of Reluctant Bride. The order of finish was rounded out by Addilyn, Emily’s Oasis, Bayerness, Nikki and Papa, and Chart.
“She’s an amazing filly,” said Joseph. “She’s not flashy in the morning, but come race day she knows how to win and today she did it the hard way.”
Four of the five wins posted by Tonalist’s Shape have come at Gulfstream, including three stakes in succession. Prior to the Davona Dale, the daughter of Tonalist captured the 1-mile Hut Hut S. in late November and the 7-furlong Forward Gal (G3) on Feb. 1 by 3 3/4 lengths. She made a winning debut at Gulfstream in late September, followed by an allowance win at Gulfstream Park West. She’s now earned $309,390.
Bred in Kentucky by Sabana Farm, Tonalist’s Shape was reared by the stakes-winning Hitechnoweenie, by Harlan’s Holiday.