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Cathryn Sophia rolls in Davona Dale

By Jennifer Caldwell

Cash is King LLC’s Cathryn Sophia proved much the best on Saturday in Gulfstream Park’s $200,000 Davona Dale (G2) under Javier Castellano.

The bay miss opened up in the stretch to be seven lengths clear on the wire while stopping the clock in 1:36.61 for a mile over the fast main track.

The six-filly field was bunched from the very start, and up front the lead kept exchanging hands between Dearest, R Girls a Charmer and Bagema through splits of :24.05, :47.12 and 1:11.88.

Cathryn Sophia was right there pressing as well, but kept out of the main fray while racing on the outside. The Street Boss filly found herself wide rounding the turn but it didn’t stop her from kicking into gear upon hitting the stretch.

The bay lass pulled off in the stretch under her own power, though Castellano did show her the whip to keep her mind on the business at hand. She returned $2.40 for the win as the 1-5 favorite.

Cathryn Sophia earned 50 points toward a starting berth in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs, and moved to the top of the leaderboard with 60 total points. In addition to the Davona Dale, the John Servis pupil also captured the Forward Gal (G2), worth 10 points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.

Lewis Bay finished second in the Davona Dale and now boasts 30 points on the leaderboard, adding 20 to her previous 10-point total for taking the Demoiselle (G2) at Aqueduct. It was another three parts of a length back to Dearest, who was making her stakes bow in this spot and took home 10 points. R Girls a Charmer was a distant 13 1/4 lengths behind in fourth, good for five points.

Now a perfect four-for-four in her career, Cathryn Sophia has banked $335,520 in lifetime earnings. The Maryland-bred miss romped by 12 lengths in her maiden debut at Parx Racing last October, then added a 16-length victory in Laurel Park’s Gin Talking S. to her resume on December 5. She kicked off 2016 with a 5 1/2-length score in the Forward Gal.

Cathryn Sophia is the first registered foal out of the unraced Mineshaft mare Sheave, who is herself a daughter of Grade 2 heroine Belterra. This female family also includes Miss Alleged, the 1991 champion turf mare and French highweight older mare who beat the boys that year in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).

Cathryn Sophia photo courtesy of Adam Coglianese Photography

DAVONA DALE QUOTES

John Servis, trainer Cathryn Sophia, winner: “Today, I think was probably, to me, her most impressive race. She trained well going into the race. It was only her fourth start. I think there’s a lot more there. She’s showed me a little more every time. Today, she was push-button.

“I told Javier (Castellano), ‘If she breaks running don’t fight her, because they’re going to have to run along pretty quick to run with her.” He took a little hold and she settled really nice. When he called on her, she was there. At the head of the lane, I was worried about the ‘4’ (Lewis Bay). He (Irad Ortiz Jr.) was strangling the ‘4,’ but she just ran away from them.

“I was concerned today about the distance a little bit, and obviously, the way she ran, I feel a whole lot better. She galloped out super. Javier thinks she’ll get the two turns, no problem. I feel pretty good now.

“It’s crazy. I’ve had some nice fillies over time, but to have a horse like Smarty Jones and to have a filly like this, it doesn’t happen, not for a guy from Parx. It’s very exciting. I think she’s just now coming into herself.  Timing-wise, May might (be her time).”

Chuck Zacney of Cash is King LLC, owner Cathryn Sophia, winner: “I was nervous going into race. The pool got a little deeper with talent and she showed her ability today. Talking to Javier after the race he said he had complete control and when he asked her she took off. Very impressive again. We love Florida and five weeks from now is (the April 2 Gulfstream Park) Oaks (G2). That will be her next for her.”

Javier Castellano, jockey Cathryn Sophia, winner: “I really liked the way she did it. It was really impressive. It was the first time I rode her. She did it really easy. I liked the way she started the first quarter mile. She was never rank or anything like that. I covered up behind horses, and when I asked her she took off. I can put her in the best, top quality horses in the country the way she did it.”