Arindel homebred Cookie Dough, knocked from a start in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) last fall with a fever, will face the runaway winner of that race in Eclipse Award champion Jaywalk when she returns to the races in Saturday's $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream Park.
The one-turn mile Davona Dale will be the first race for Cookie Dough since Sept. 29, when she completed a sweep of the final two legs of the Florida Sire Stakes for juvenile fillies in the $400,000 My Dear Girl at Gulfstream. In her prior start, she was an easy winner of the $200,000 Susan's Girl – the two victories achieved by 14 combined lengths.
“Everything has been good. By choice, this race would be a couple more weeks down the road, but it's not, so we go. I was training knowing when the race was, so the schedule had to be accelerated. She hasn't run since September but I couldn't ask her to be training any better than she has,” trainer Stanley Gold said. “When you get one with pneumonia, just to get them back to the races you've got to be happy. She seems unfazed, so we'll see.”
Gold won the 2010 Juvenile Fillies with eventual champion Awesome Feather, and ran third with 30-1 long shot Blonde Bomber in 2017. He was looking forward to trying Cookie Dough, but she got sick shortly after arriving at Churchill Downs a week ahead of the race.
Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, who shares a Gulfstream barn with Gold during the Championship Meet and has Code of Honor entered in the Fountain of Youth, was forced to scratch Code of Honor from the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) with a fever the morning of the race.
“It was just bad luck. It's nobody's fault, just bad luck. Shug's horse [Code of Honor] got sick when he was there, too,” Gold said. “It just turned out to be unseasonably cold the day that we got there and then next day. She got there, she walked a day, she galloped one day and galloped great. By that afternoon you knew something was wrong and it was downhill after that.
“She caught pneumonia and she was in a clinic up there for at least two weeks, plus three or four or five days at Churchill. She came back and had to get some more time off and when she was ready to go to the track she came back here,” he added. “I'd like to have a little bit more time but there isn't more time. Everything's been good. It's like we're running in a Breeders' Cup with a smaller purse, but that's the way it goes. We'll see what happens.”
Cookie Dough rejoined Gold's string in mid-December and shows six works over Gulfstream's main track for the Davona Dale. At 20-1 in the program, she will be ridden by Jeffrey Sanchez from Post 2 in the field of seven.
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