Phipps Stable’s Fly So High made an impressive debut on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard Saturday, taking her stakes bow in the $200,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) by three lengths under regular rider Jose Ortiz.
The Malibu Moon filly earned 50 points toward a starting berth in the May 4 Kentucky Oaks (G1) thanks to this score. The Davona Dale is part of the Championship portion of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series and was worth 50-20-10-5 points to the respective top four finishers.
The lead changed hands between last-out Forward Gal Stakes (G3) heroine Take Charge Paula, Alter Moon and Heavenhasmynikki before Fly So High took command in the lane. The bay lass was wide early on the backstretch and angled out for her winning run, completing a mile on the fast dirt at Gulfstream Park in 1:38.69.
After the finish line, Ortiz pulled Fly So High up and she was vanned off the track. However, early reports indicate the Kentucky-bred is fine and that it was a precautionary measure as Ortiz thought she might have been a bit off in her left front.
Fly So Free returned $4.80 for the win, and took home the majority of the 85 total points up for grabs. Take Charge Paula captured second by three-quarters of a length over Heavenhasmynikki, while Sultry completed the top four under the wire another half-length behind. Rounding out the order of finish were Cache, Alter Moon, Sunny Skies and Miss Mo Mentum.
Fly So Free joins the Oaks Leaderboard with 50 points while Take Charge Paula now boasts 30 total points after earning 10 for her Forward Gal score. Heavenhasmynikki, fourth in the Forward Gal, shows 11 points and Sultry, the Forward Gal runner-up, has racked up nine points.
Bred in Kentucky by Mt. Brilliant Broodmares II LLC, Fly So High is out of the Quiet American mare Quiet Flight. She comes from the immediate female family of reigning Horse of the Year and $15 million earner Gun Runner, who finished third in the 2016 Kentucky Derby (G1).
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.”