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Pomeroys Pistol targets Davona Dale
POMEROYS PISTOL (Pomeroy) handed DANCINGINHERDREAMS (Tapit) a first career loss when holding that rival by three parts of a length in the January 30 Forward Gal S. (G2), and on Saturday will attempt to prove that victory was no aberration when going in the $250,000 Davona Dale S. (G2) back at Gulfstream Park.
Looking to derail her chances will be the returning Dancinginherdreams, third-placer EVIL QUEEN (Hear No Evil) and fourth-place R HEAT LIGHTNING (Trippi), along with five newcomers.
Pomeroys Pistol was sent off the 9-1 third choice in the Forward Gal and utilized a stalking trip to get the jump on Dancinginherdreams. She grabbed command of the seven-furlong test rounding the turn while her rival found the way blocked. Jockey Julien Leparoux angled Dancinginherdreams to the outside and the pair were gaining on Pomeroys Pistol, but the wire came before they could catch the bay lass.
The Davona Dale's extra furlong might be just what Dancinginherdreams, a drawing off 5 1/4-length winner of the Pocahontas S. (G2) last year, needs to gain a measure of revenge. Regular rider Leparoux returns for the mount. The recently injured Paco Lopez has been aboard Pomeroys Pistol for her past three, so Ramon Dominguez will take the reins in his absence. (Photo courtesy Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs)
R Heat Lightning made her sophomore bow as the 6-5 favorite in the Forward Gal and suffered her first off-the-board finish. Fourth under the wire, she just missed third by a neck to Evil Queen following a bumpy start and four-wide trip. The Todd Pletcher trainee captured last year's Spinaway S. (G1) and was subsequently second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) and Frizette S. (G1). John Velazquez is still looking for his first win aboard R Heat Lightning and will get another shot on Saturday.
Like Dancinginherdreams, ROXY GAP (Indian Charlie) knows what it's like to finish behind Pomeroys Pistol while enduring a first loss. The pair met up in the Old Hat S. (G3) on January 5, where Pomeroys Pistol ran third to Roxy Gap's fifth-placing in that six-furlong event. That was also Roxy Gap's first try on a conventional dirt surface, as she had previously won over Woodbine's Polytrack and turf. Trainer Mark Casse will saddle his bay pupil for another shot on the main track under jockey Alex Solis.
A pair of stakes debuters add yet more interest to this race. HOT SUMMER (Malibu Moon) broke her maiden at Monmouth Park last fall and closed out her juvenile campaign with a seven-length romp against allowance rivals at Parx Racing. She hasn't competed since that November 29 affair, but has been working at Calder in preparation for her three-year-old, and stakes, bow.
OH CAROLE (Unbridled's Song) will try to do what neither Dancinginherdreams or Roxy Gap could, and that's keep her unbeaten line perfect. The Eddie Kenneally charge scored in her maiden debut at Keeneland then came back 4 1/2 months later to post a 1 3/4-length victory in an allowance at Gulfstream. Previously ridden by Leparoux, she'll get a jockey switch to Javier Castellano for the Davona Dale.
BELLARIDGE (Cactus Ridge), fifth when trying stakes company for the first time in the Sweetest Chant S., and recent maiden winner MENDING HEARTS (Street Cry [Ire]) complete the field.