How 'Sweet' It Is For Dolce Zel in Florida Oaks

Dolce Zel | SV photography

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Making her U.S. debut as the 3-1 second-elect, Dolce Zel (Fr) (Zelzal {Fr}) fell into a golden trip from a perfect draw and pounced late to narrowly defeat stablemate Spicer (Quality Road) in Saturday's GIII Florida Oaks. It was a second straight Florida Oaks winner saddled by trainer Chad Brown and keyed a one-two finish for the second time in the day's graded events.

Away without incident from the three hole, the bay filly–adding Lasix for her first stateside appearance–secured a cozy spot at the fence as Spicer prompted soft fractions from the outside. Traveling with a fistful of horse as they raced into the final three furlongs, Irad Ortiz, Jr. eased Dolce Zel off the inside and into the two path at the quarter pole and slipstreamed Spicer off the home corner. Pulled out three deep to deliver her challenge in earnest with three-sixteenths of a mile to race, Dolce Zel collared Spicer under whipless encouragement and was punched out to score by a slim margin, albeit in reasonably comfortable fashion. On Alert (Medaglia d'Oro) caboosed the field after angling over at the break, came with a no-straw-in-her-path run around the second turn and finished with good energy for third.

Previously trained by Alessandro and Giuseppe Botti, Dolce Zel was 14th of 15 behind the Peter Brant-owned Spanish Baroque (GB) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) in 1400-meter maiden in soft ground at Dieppe on the north coast of France July 26 and made just one subsequent appearance, a 3/4-length upset on a sounder surface at ParisLongchamp Oct. 14.

Pedigree Notes:

Dolce Zel is the second graded winner and third stakes winner from the first crop of her sire, a son of Sea The Stars (Ire) who resides at the stallion arm of Al Shaqab Racing, Haras de Bouquetot in France. The stallion's daughter Ouraika (Fr) took out this year's GIII Sweet Life S. at Santa Anita.

Trained by Jean-Claude Rouget for Sheikh Joaan's operation, Zelzal posted his biggest career victory in the G1 Prix Jean Prat in 2016 and made a single appearance in this country, finishing  sixth, beaten less than two lengths, behind champion World Approval (Northern Afleet) in the 2017 GI Breeders' Cup Mile at Del Mar.

A half-sister to SW & MGSP Pure Zen, Dolce Zel is out of a winning daughter of 1999 Bassinet S. heroine Lady Gin, herself the dam of SW Queen Amira (GB) (Forestry). Dolce Attesa is the dam of a now 2-year-old filly by the promising Shalaa (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) that was knocked down to Alessandro Botti and Meridian International for €47,000 from the Grandcamp consignment at the Arqana October Yearling Sale in Deauville.

Saturday, Tampa Bay Downs
FLORIDA OAKS-GIII, $151,000, Tampa Bay Downs, 3-12, 3yo, f, 1 1/16mT, 1:44.18, gd.
1–DOLCE ZEL (FR), 118, f, 3, by Zelzal (Fr)
                1st Dam: Dolce Attesa (GB), by Dr Fong
                2nd Dam: Lady Gin, by Saint Ballado
                3rd Dam: Romantic Dinner, by Who's for Dinner
1ST BLACK TYPE WIN, 1ST GRADED STAKES WIN. O-Michael
Dubb, Madaket Stables LLC & Robert V LaPenta; B-Scuderia
Micolo Di Nicola Galli & C SNC (FR); T-Chad C Brown; J-Irad
Ortiz Jr. $90,000. Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-0, $105,655. *1/2 to
Pure Zen (Fr) (Zoffany {Ire}), SW & MGSP-Fr, $112,606. Werk
Nick Rating: C. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Spicer, 118, f, 3, Quality Road–Moulin de Mougin, by Curlin.
1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE. ($300,000 Ylg '20
KEESEP). O-Jeff Drown & Don Rachel; B-Ran Jan Racing Inc
(KY); T-Chad C Brown. $30,000.
3–On Alert, 118, f, 3, Medaglia d'Oro–Darling's Darling, by
Bernardini. 1ST BLACK TYPE, 1ST GRADED BLACK TYPE.
($500,000 Ylg '20 FTKSEL). O-Courtlandt Farms (Donald Adam);
B-Debby M Oxley (KY); T-Claude R McGaughey III. $15,000.
Margins: HD, 1HF, 1 1/4. Odds: 3.00, 2.20, 12.70.
Also Ran: Mrs. Barbara, Sweet Dutchess, Alittleloveandluck, Roughly a Diamond, Princess Elin, Ambitieuse.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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