First Stakes Winner for St Patrick’s Day also Earns $10,000 FTBOA Florida-bred Top 3 Bonus


Florida-bred Fiona’s Magic shot out of the starting gate first and never looked back in a wire-to-wire score in the Grade 2 Davona Dale presented by FanDuel TV at Gulfstream Park Saturday, earning 50 points on the Road to the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. Fiona’s Magic defeated five other 3-year-old fillies going a mile while earning the winner’s share of the $200,000 purse plus a $10,000 Florida-bred Top 3 bonus presented by the Florida Thoroughbred Breeders’ and Owners’ Association.

A homebred for Marilyn Campbell’s Stonehedge LLC, Fiona’s Magic is the first stakes-winner for Journeyman Stud’s St Patrick’s Day and now has 60 points on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard. She earned here initial 10 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points with a second-place finish to fellow Florida-bred R Harper Rose in the Grade 3 Forward Gal at Gulfstream on Feb. 3.

Last year, Wonder Wheel was the final filly to qualify for the Kentucky Oaks starting gate with 48 points.

Fiona’s Magic and jockey Tyler Gaffalione had a length advantage on Queen’s Martini and Into Champagne down the backstretch while controlling the pace with a :24.59 quarter-mile. She extended her lead to a length-and-a-half around the far turn when Into Champagne launched her bid on the outside and 1-5 favorite Leslie’s Rose began to close in with a ground saving trip on the rail.

Fiona’s Magic maintained a short lead turning for home after the half-mile in :47.47 as Leslie’s Rose raced up to her inside and Into Champagne began to threaten on the outside.

But Fiona’s Magic dug in and shook off her rivals to win by a half-length in 1:37.16 on the fast track. Into Champagne was second, a length-and-three-quarters ahead of Leslie’s Rose in third. They were followed, in order, by Queen’s Martini, Whocouldaskformo and New Diamond. Morning line favorite Just F Y I and Florida-bred Miss Sayely were scratched.

Fiona’s Magic paid $20.20 to win.

“She did what she had to do and at the end she was still going,” Marilyn Campbell said. “That was pretty impressive and it was wonderful. She is not a big filly either.

“I had a lot of confidence today. In all of her four races, she showed a lot of potential. You never know what is going to happen. We all know that. But she did it. It was a big day for Stonehedge, a big day for St Patrick’s Day and a big day for Florida breeding.”

It was the second consecutive Davona Dale victory with a Florida-bred for trainer Michael Yates, who won last year’s version with John Ropes’ Dorth Vader.

“I didn’t give Tyler [Gaffalione] any instructions,” Yates said. “I said, ‘Ride the race how it comes up.’ I thought [Fiona’s Magic] was very capable of it. She’s been coming along steadily.”

Gaffalione said the experience of riding her in the Forward Gal proved beneficial and credited Yates with having Fiona’s Magic in top form for the Davona Dale.

“[Fiona’s Magic] put in a huge effort last time [in the Forward Gal]. I was able to get familiar with her,” Gaffalione said. “The team did a great job bringing her over ready. Mr. Yates has done a fabulous job last year with Dorth Vader [and] this year with [Fiona’s Magic]. She was there for me every step.”

The $132,760 pay day for Fiona’s Magic increased her career earnings to $250,910 from three wins in five starts with two seconds, all at Gulfstream Park.

After finishing second to My Shea D Lady in her first start in July, Fiona’s Magic won a six-furlong maiden special weight by seven lengths on Nov. 19. She then won a first level, $75,000 optional claiming by two-and-a-half lengths going six-and-a-half furlongs on Dec. 7 before the aforementioned Forward Gal.

Fiona’s Magic is out of the unraced Factum mare Mollie’s Magic, who has produced four winners from four starters including Cajun’s Magic, by Stonehedge Farm South stallion Cajun Breeze and winner of the 2021 FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes Dr. Fager. Mollie’s Magic also has an unraced 2-year-old, Blazing Hot, by Journeyman Stud stallion Khozan and an unnamed yearling colt by Cajun Breeze.

Fiona’s Magic is the 14th Florida-bred winner of the Davona Dale. In addition to Dorth Vader, the list includes Miss Legality in 1992, Lunar Spook (1993), Cut the Charm (1994), Mia’s Hope (1995), Plum Country (1996), Glitter Woman (1997), Three Ring (1999), Miss Brookski (2002), Bsharpsonata (2008), Amen Hallelujah (2020), R Heat Lightning (2011) and Yara (2012).

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