Dubawi Heights needed virtually every step of Gamely Handicap's 1 1/8 miles to notch her fourth consecutive victory and first in a Grade 1 stakes, getting up in the final few strides under Joel Rosario to beat front-running Brazilian-bred Celtic Princess by a head on the Hollywood Park turf course Monday afternoon. Favored Cozi Rosie was third, with Restless Soul fourth in the $250,000 race for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and upward.
The win was also the first in a G1 event for Simon Callaghan, the 28-year-old who trains Dubawi Heights for her owners, a partnership consisting of Neville Callaghan, Ciodagh, M.V. Magnier, M. V. and Annabel Wyatt. The 4-year-old daughter of Dubawi–Rosie's Posy, by Suave Dancer, came into the Gamely off a win in the G3 Wilshire, and before that won a Santa Anita allowance race in April. She was Group-stakes placed at Newmarket in England, where she was born and began her career, but she arrived in the United States still a maiden last year. It took her three starts in California for Dubawi Heights to register her first win, but she has not lost since that Nov. 28, 2010, maiden special weight victory.
Celtic Princess nearly stole the Gamely on the front end — setting fractions of :23.26,: 47.52, 1:11.68 and 1:35.54 — in her first start since a conditioned allowance race at Santa Anita Dec. 30. She was tracked throughout in second by Dubawi Heights
Dubawi Heights, bred in England by Aston Mullins Stud, carried 117 pounds under the allowance conditions of the Gamely and completed the nine furlongs on firm turf in 1:47.29.
HOLLYWOOD PARK MEDIA QUOTES
JOEL ROSARIO, DUBAWI HEIGHTS, Winner: “That horse in front (Celtic Princess) got such an easy lead early, but my filly was traveling really nice and I had a lot of confidence in her. Last year when I rode her she was behind horses and had a lot of trouble. Now she showed me that she can run through anything. I can see the improvement from race to race. She gets a hold of the track a lot better. The more she races, the better she gets.”
RAFAEL BEJARANO, CELTIC PRINCESS, Second: “At the top of the stretch I thought I was going to win the race because I had so much confidence in her and she tries so hard. She showed me a big kick. My horse and the other horse (Dubawi Heights) were the only two that kept running. They both finished really strong.”
SIMON CALLAGHAN, DUBAWI HEIGHTS, Winner: “Everything we've asked, she's really come well for us, this filly. She's really improved and progressed each time. She was a good filly in Europe, stakes placed as a 2-year-old, but she's had a few various injuries and setbacks which kept her off the track as a 3-year-old. She's getting better with age and maturing. Getting a Grade 1 victory means everything. I am delighted for all the owners. It's fantastic, I couldn't be happier. We thought she would get this distance, but we thought a mile and an eighth would be the limit. But (Joel Rosario) was very confident and had her up there the whole way. The filly has done us proud. She's had four races pretty quick. She's nominated for the Beverly D., which is obviously a big jump up in distance. There are also a couple of races at Del Mar. I don't know, we'll have a talk with the owners and think about it.”
A C AVILA, CELTIC PRINCESS, Second: “She has a lot of class. I don't know what happened to her before. I know she got sick and she went to the farm for almost a year. Actually, I started pointing her for this race just a week or two ago. We were going to go in the ($70,000 Redondo Beach at one mile on turf June 5) to prepare for Del Mar. But you know, we said she's older, so let's give her a chance to get a Grade 1.”
Notes: The Beverly D., a Grade I at 1 3/16 miles on turf, will be run Aug. 13 at Arlington Park…This was the first Grade I victory for Callaghan and a meet high eighth stakes win for Rosario.
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