Sunday, March 22, 2009


Justwhistledixie Strong Favorite in Bonnie Miss Friday


West Point Thoroughbreds and partners’ 3-year-old filly Justwhistledixie will be strictly the horse to beat in Friday’s $200,000 Bonnie Miss Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park, the first of five graded stakes to be run over the three-day Florida Derby (G1) weekend.

Jockey Julien Leparoux rides Justwhistledixie for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin, replacing regular rider Alan Garcia, who will be in Dubai over the weekend. Justwhistledixie bids for a fourth straight stakes victory and fifth overall while facing five rival 3-year-old fillies in the 1 1/8 miles South Florida preview of Kentucky Oaks (G1) prospects.


A $425,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Dixie Union, Justwhistledixie won an overnight stakes late last year at Aqueduct and the Ruthless Stakes there on Jan. 4 to earn a trip south to Palm Meadows for the winter season.

Justwhistledixie made her graded-stakes debut winning the one-mile Davona Dale Stakes (G2) by 3¾ lengths here on Mar. 1 and she will be tried around two turns for the first time in the Bonnie Miss. Her performance in the Davona Dale obviously made a big impression as she was made the 5-2 favorite in Churchill Downs Kentucky Oaks Future Wager over Rachel Alexandra and Stardom Bound.

There also will be plenty attention in Friday’s race for Katherine Ball’s lightly-raced Gatorette with Eibar Coa aboard for trainer David Fawkes as she bids for her third victory in as many career starts. The roan/gray daughter of Distorted Humor was a $130,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase and won her two races at this meet by 7¼ and 7¾ lengths.

Edward P. Evans’ 3-year-old homebred filly Casanova Move finished a clear second to Justwhistledixie in the Davona Dale and the daughter of Langfuhr gets another chance Friday with Jose Lezcano aboard for trainer Jimmy Jerkens. In her only previous attempt at two turns, Casanova Move finished seventh on turf in the Miss Grillo Stakes (G3) on a ‘yielding’ course at Belmont Park in early October.

Completing the field for the 39th edition for the Bonnie Miss are Carolyn Sue Bruder’s Suz Slew, John Velazquez; New Life Stable and partners’ Hopeful Image, Rene Douglas; and Sagamore Farm’s Shared Account, Jeremy Rose.


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