Phipps Stable's Fly So High gave Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey his 2,000th career win in Saturday's Grade 2 Davona Dale, earning 50 points toward the Kentucky Oaks in the process. The 3-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon, off as the 7-5 favorite, was wide throughout the race to complete the one-turn mile over Gulfstream's fast main track in 1:38.69. Fly So High was ridden to victory by Jose Ortiz, but pulled up after the race; Ortiz said she felt a bit off. She walked onto the horse ambulance under her own power.
“I couldn't see anything major,” McGaughey said. “Jose 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.”
Later, McGaughey told drf.com that Fly So High had cooled out well back at the barn.
“She cooled out fine when I got back to the barn,” said McGaughey. “Now there is a chance something could fill up in the morning, but the one thing I can say for sure is it's nothing drastic.”
Take Charge Paula broke very sharply, if a bit crooked toward the outside, to have the lead in the early stages. Fly So High stuck right to her hip in the early going, but the two fillies stayed wide and left the rail open for Alter Moon to come up and take the lead mid-way down the backstretch. After fractions of :24.37 and :47.79, Heavenhasmynikki joined Alter Moon in a battle for the lead into the far turn.
Ortiz kept Fly So High in the three-path as he waited for the right time to make his move, and sent the filly after new leader Heavenhasmynikki at the top of the stretch. Heavenhasmynikki fought back briefly, but Fly So High was kept to task to record about a two-length victory. Take Charge Paula balked at moving between horses at the head of the lane, but was angled out and able to run down Heavenhasmynikki to claim second.
Fly So High was pulled up after the wire, but walked into the horse ambulance under her own power.
“She felt a little sore in her left front,” Ortiz said. “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.”
Bred in Kentucky by Mt. Brilliant Farm, Fly So High was a $675,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale. She ran third on debut but hasn't lost since, and the Davona Dale is her first graded stakes win. Overall, Fly So High has three wins from four starts for earnings of about $190,000.
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