Justwhistledixie Takes G2 Davona Dale
Filly Scores First Graded Stakes Win
Sometimes you think you have a special horse in the barn, but you're never quite sure until she gets that first real test. Well, how special is the horse if you pass that test with the greatest of ease? Such has become the case with Justwhistledixie, in winning the G2 $150,000 Davona Dale by nearly four lengths under a 'strong hand ride.'
After winning three straight races in New York, including two stakes events, trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and WPT President Terry Finley decided to call an audible and send 'Dixie down to Florida for the graded event. Originially, the plan was to keep Justwhistledixie in New York all season long. "Kiaran said after her performance in the Ruthless Stakes, he thought it was the right thing to do, he thought she deserved the chance to go up against the best three-year-old fillies in the country. I guess he was right," said Finley discussing the change in plans for the filly.
Sent off as the 5/2 second choice in the field of seven, 'Dixie got off to a good start and was immediately put in a spot close to the frontrunners. Under regular rider Alan Garcia, Justwhistledixie sat outside the leaders through an opening half mile of :47.1. Turning for home, Garcia decided it was time to make his move. "I just sat on her, and as soon as I punched the button, she just exploded," said Garcia. She took the lead with about a quarter mile to run and never looked back, winning by three-and-a-quarter lengths. Garcia thought the mile, the furthest she had ever been, was no problem at all, "I had a ton of horse left."
McLaughlin was thrilled with her performance. "She's had to hustle and be closer up in her previous efforts, but today she rated beautifully. We wanted her to relax early and she certainly was able to do that. I couldn't be happier with the way she ran today."
For the win, her fourth consecutive score, the three-year-old daughter of Dixie Union earned $90,000. She has now won over $217,000 in her brief six race career.
When asked about her next start, McLaughlin said possibly the Bonnie Miss on March 27th and then, hopefully, the Kentucky Oaks. "It's a nice road to be on."