Fiona's Magic Wires Davona Dale at 9-1; Champion Just F Y I Scratched with Fever

Fiona's Magic (inside) | Ryan Thompson


Stonehedge LLC's homebred Fiona's Magic (f, 3, St Patrick's Day–Mollie's Magic, by Factum) was catapulted into the spotlight on a Saturday reeling from several pre-race scratches of major players in significant graded events. Gulfstream Park's GII Davona Dale S. presented by FanDuel TV, a Road to the Kentucky Oaks race worth $200,000 as well as points on a 50-25-15-10-5 scale, was not immune as Eclipse champion and GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Just F Y I (Justify) developed a fever Saturday morning after shipping to Gulfstream from Payson Park. She was scratched just hours before what was to be her much-anticipated 3-year-old debut by her Hall of Fame trainer, Bill Mott.

“She was fine, but she spiked a fever and her temperature has just kept going up,” said Mott.

Undefeated 'TDN Rising Star' and former $1.15-million Keeneland September yearling Leslie's Rose (Into Mischief), who had been expected to mount the most serious challenge in the field to Just F Y I, inherited the mantle of heavy favoritism in the Davona Dale, but it was an under-the-radar Fiona's Magic at 9-1 who prevailed. A winner of two straight late last year while sprinting over this surface, Fiona's Magic made her sophomore debut with a runner-up finish in the Feb. 3 GIII Forward Gal S. at seven furlongs after relinquishing the lead at the top of the stretch to R Harper Rose (Khozan).

With expectations weighing on Leslie's Rose in the Davona Dale, Fiona's Magic popped out of the gate on top as 'TDN Rising Star' and Glitter Woman S. winner Into Champagne (Into Mischief) took a right turn before recovering to pressure from third as Cash Run S. runner-up Queen's Martini (Mucho Macho Man) tracked and Leslie's Rose found a sweet spot in the clear in fourth. Fiona's Magic was left alone for the :24.59 first quarter and was still running easily without a threat by the time the half was clocked in :47.47.

Tyler Gaffalione on the winner still rode confidently rounding the turn and began pumping his mount with gusto into the stretch as Leslie's Rose advanced and tried to find a seam to their inside. Irad Ortiz, Jr. couldn't quite get through on the favorite and shifted out, but Leslie's Rose was left with too much to do and could only muster third behind a driving Fiona's Magic and Into Champagne, who briefly looked a winner but couldn't match the determination of Fiona's Magic and settled for second by a half-length. Fiona's Magic covered the one-turn mile in 1:37.16.

Winning trainer Michael Yates also upset this race last year at 46-1 with Dorth Vader (Girvin), whose best finish to eventual divisional champion Pretty Mischievous (Into Mischief) in three tries as the season unfolded was a second in the GI Acorn S.

“I didn't give Tyler any instructions [Saturday],” said Yates. “I said, 'Ride the race how it comes up.'”

Yates did not have a plan for Fiona's Magic immediately following the race.

“[We'll] enjoy today and talk about the rest tomorrow. I thought she was very capable of it. She's been coming along steadily.”

Pedigree Notes:

Fiona's Magic becomes the first stakes winner for St Patrick's Day, a full-brother to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. She's a member of the first crop of the Journeyman Stallions-based sire, as well as just the second black-type winner for Factum as a broodmare sire. The latter's other stakes winner is Fiona's Magic's half-brother Cajun's Magic (Cajun Breeze).

The unraced Mollie's Magic has a 2-year-old colt named Blazing Hot (Khozan) and a yearling full-brother to Cajun's Magic. She was barren for 2024.


Saturday, Gulfstream Park
DAVONA DALE S. PRESENTED BY FANDUEL TV-GII, $210,000, Gulfstream, 3-2, 3yo, f, 1m, 1:37.16, ft.
1–FIONA'S MAGIC, 120, f, 3, by St Patrick's Day
           1st Dam: Mollie's Magic, by Factum
           2nd Dam: Seductive Lady, by Langfuhr
           3rd Dam: You'll B Impressed, by Valid Appeal
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O/B-Stonehedge LLC (FL); T-Michael Yates; J-Tyler Gaffalione. $132,760. Lifetime Record: 5-3-2-0, $250,910. *1/2 to Cajun's Magic (Cajun Breeze), SW, $311,425. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Into Champagne, 120, f, 3, Into Mischief–Bedford Land, by Speightstown. 'TDN Rising Star'. 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. ($300,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP). O-Six Column Stables, LLC, Randall Bloch, Jim Gladden, Mike Davis, and Michael Steele; B-Robert & Lawana Low (KY); T-Ian R. Wilkes. $39,600.
3–Leslie's Rose, 120, f, 3, Into Mischief–Wildwood Rose (Ire), by Galileo (Ire). 'TDN Rising Star'. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. ($1,150,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP). O-Whisper Hill Farm, LLC; B-John D. Gunther & Eurowest Bloodstock Services (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher. $19,800.
Margins: HF, 1 3/4, HF. Odds: 9.10, 4.20, 0.30.
Also Ran: Queen's Martini, Whocouldaskformo, New Diamond. Scratched: Just F Y I, Miss Sayely.
Click for the chart or the PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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