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Yara shocks in Davona Dale
Peras International's Yara was sent off the 64-1 second longest shot in Saturday's Grade 2, $350,000 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park, but dueled 4-5 favorite Grace Hall into a neck loss when crossing under the wire first. The Put It Back filly paid out huge to her backers, returning $131, $38 and $14.40 for the victory under jockey Jesus Castanon.
"This is the biggest win of my career," Florida-based trainer Jose Garaffolo said. "I knew it was a tough field, but I was always confident that she would handle a distance. The owner (Anderson Castro) is from Venezuela and is investing in several horses over here, including some I have coming up.
"I picked this one out," added Garaffolo, who paid $24,000 for the filly at the 2011 OBS April two-year-old sales. "The goal is the (Grade 1) Kentucky Oaks with maybe a race before then. I usually wait to see how they come out of a race to make more immediate plans."
Yara and Grace Hall hooked up from the beginning of the 1 1/16-mile race, with the winner setting the opening fraction of :23 3/5 before yielding through splits of :47 3/5, 1:12 1/5 and 1:36 4/5 to her rail-hugging rival.
While the rest of the field struggled to make up ground, the pair carried their battle into the lane and all the way to the wire, with Yara sticking her neck in front to stop the clock in 1:43 2/5 on the fast main track.
"I saw the '2' (Grace Hall) right next to me, and when she went ahead and took the lead, my horse settled really nicely," Castanon said. "My filly was just waiting for me to push the button, and when I did, she ran on really well. I was actually very confident coming into the race. I saw her race last time and I knew she had run some good races before that."
Captivating Lass was best of the rest, 3 1/2 lengths behind in third, while 3-1 second choice Disposablepleasure ran a credible fourth in her return from a three-month layoff. Following those two under the wire were The Cat's All That, Nuffsaid Nuffsaid, Frolic's Revenge, Salad Girl and Taker Home.
Yara was making her two-turn debut in the Davona Dale off a well-beaten fourth in the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes to start her three-year-old campaign. Prior to that the chestnut miss won a pair of races at Calder while finishing fourth twice at that same venue. The first of those came in her career debut last August, but she quickly rebounded to break her maiden by 5 3/4 lengths next out. Another fourth followed when she made her stakes bow in the Cassidy Stakes, but Yara turned around to take the Joe O'Farrell Juvenile Fillies Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths to close out 2011.
Beaten 22 1/2 lengths in the Forward Gal, Yara wasn't given much chance in this one but continued her trend of following a fourth-placing with a win to boost her earnings to $363,920 and improve her line to read 6-3-0-0.
Bred in Florida by Brambly Lane Farm and Steve Dwoskin, Yara RNAed twice, as a weanling at OBS October and a yearling at OBS January. She finally received a winning bid when going for $12,000 at OBS August in 2010, and found that offer doubled when selling to her current connections as an OBS April two-year-old last season.
Yara is the first registered stakes winner out of the Gilded Time mare Ashlee's Lady, who is a half-sister to Grade 1 heroine Healthy Addiction. The Davona Dale winner counts as her fourth dam the Northern Dancer mare Cool Mood, who is best known as the granddam of 1997 Belmont Stakes king and top sire Touch Gold as well as fellow successful sire and Canadian Horse of the Year With Approval.