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Fiona's Magic Fends Off Into Champagne in Davona Dale

Champion Just F Y I scratches due to an elevated temperature.

Fiona's Magic wins the Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park

Fiona's Magic wins the Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park

Coglianese Photos

With George Krikorian's juvenile filly champion Just F Y I being a late scratch, Stonehedge's Fiona's Magic ran to the lead out of the gate and held on to capture the $210,000 Davona Dale Stakes (G2) March 2 at Gulfstream Park.

Fiona's Magic, a Florida-bred 3-year-old daughter of St Patrick's Day , ran wire to wire under Tyler Gaffalione in a winning time of 1:37.16 to improve to 3-2-0 in five career starts—all at Gulfstream Park—and earn 50 qualifying points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.

"I didn't give Tyler specific instructions. Just ride the race how it comes up," said trainer Michael Yates, who also won the race last year with John Ropes' Dorth Vader. "I just wanted him to ride her and not worry about the rest of the horses."

One horse Gaffalione didn't have to worry about was Just F Y I, scratched shortly before the race after developing a fever.

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

The undefeated Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) winner, Just F Y I was favored at 7-5 on the morning line for what had been expected to be her 3-year-old debut Saturday.

Asked for his reaction upon hearing Just F Y I had been scratched, Yates simply said, "Relieved."

"She looks like a great filly, so anytime you don't have to face somebody like that ...," Yates said. "You're obviously sad for them that they didn't get to run, but happy we didn't have to run against them."

Fiona's Magic started from Post 2 for the one-turn one-mile race and immediately made the lead. She posted fractions of :24.59, :47.47, and 1:11.72 followed by Reeves Thoroughbred Racing's Queen's Martini and Six Column Stables, Randall Bloch, Jim Gladden, Mike Davis, and Michael Steele's Into Champagne.

"I was thrilled when I saw her leave the chute and her ears were flopping," Yates said of his filly. "She was like, 'Why are we going so slow today?'"

Into Champagne bid three wide at the top of the stretch and Whisper Hill Farm's Leslie's Rose, the 1-5 favorite, took aim with a rail run, but neither could catch Fiona's Magic.

Fiona's Magic paid $20.20, $6.80, and $2.40 in becoming her sire's first black-type stakes winner. St Patrick's Day, a full brother to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah , stands at Journeyman Stallions in Florida for $3,500.

Into Champagne, under jockey Julien Leparoux, paid $5.20 and $2.20. Leslie's Rose, with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., took third and paid $2.10.

Gaffalione rode Fiona's Magic to a second-place finish in the Forward Gal Stakes (G3) Feb. 3 when she was overtaken by R Harper Rose near the five-sixteenths marker.

"Last time, I thought I was a little too patient. I let the horse collar me—I thought I had a little bit more," Gaffalione said. "But she's one of those free-running fillies, so I just tried to keep her in stride. And as soon as she met that challenge, she met it and went on."

The Davona Dale awarded Kentucky Oaks (G1) qualifying points on a 50-25-15-10-5 scale to the top five finishers.