Davona Dale Stakes: Yara Prevails to Upset Heavy Favorite Grace Hall

Carlos TorresContributor IFebruary 25, 2012

LINGFIELD, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 24:  Jockey Michael Hills riding Christian Bendix (Middle Yellow) in The Moorcroft Racehorse Welfare Centre Maiden Stakes at Lingfield Race Course on October 24, 2005 in Lingfield, England.  (photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Yara prevailed in a homestretch duel with Grace Hall to capture the $350,000 G2 Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

This was supposed to be Grace Hall's three-year-old debut party but was crashed by 64.50:1 long-shot Yara with Jesus Castañon aboard.

Grace Hall was physically fit and well prepared for this race. She had three outstanding four furlong workout preps at Palm Meadows, highlighted by the one on February 3rd of :46 3/5 seconds—the best that day at the distance.

Even Eclipse Award winning jockey Ramon Dominguez came down to Gulfstream to be aboard Grace Hall. But it was the chestnut filly by Put It Back, Yara who out dueled the heavy favorite with a final time of 1:43.41 for the 1 1/16-mile race.

At the start Yara and The Cat's All That broke out well and went to the lead, with Grace Hall at the rail quickly took second place as they took the first turn.

By the time they reached the backstretch, Grace Hall willingly took the lead away from Yara and Jesus Castanon was contempt with running off her off Grace Hall's lead.

Second- and third-bet choices, Disposablepleasure and The Cat's All That were running third and fourth just behind the two pacesetters awaiting their turn to make a move.

But that time never came for them as Grace Hall and Yara started to pull away them during the final turn and set up their home-stretch duel.

It was during the final two furlongs that both jockeys put position aboard their rides and asked their best effort from Grace Hall and Yara.

They fought hard in a battle of wills down the stretch but at the final 100 meters, Yara overtook Grace Hall and showed her neck up front at the wire.

Captivating Lass with John Velazquez could not keep up with the leaders in the stretch and finished a weakened third place 3 1/2 lengths behind.

It's uncertain at this moment the future plans for both Yara and Grace Hall.

But one thing is certain now about Yara. Owned by Peras International and trained by Jose Garoffalo the filly is fully in the picture of the best three-year-old fillies with this win.


Davona Dale Stakes | Grade 3 | Purse: $350,000 | Three-Year-Old Fillies | 1 1/16 Mile









Jesus Castanon





Grace Hall

Ramon Dominguez





Captivating Lass

John Velazquez




Also ran: Disposablepleasure, The Cat’s All That, Nuffsaid Nuffsaid, Frolic’s Revenge, Salad Girl and Taker Home.

Fractional Times:  :23.79, :47.71, 1:12.38, 1:36.96
Final Time: