Dorth Vader Tops G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks Nominations

March 22, 2023

Dorth Vader outruns her odds in the Davona Dale under Miguel Vasquez (Coglianese)

G1 Curlin Florida Derby Card Features 10 Stakes

Gulfstream Park Press Release

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla.— John Ropes’ Dorth Vader, a dominating 4 ¾-length winner of the Davona Dale (G2) Feb. 4, leads a list of the 14 nominations for the $250,000 Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) presented by FanDuel TV April 1 at Gulfstream Park.

The 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies, a qualifying race for May 5 Kentucky Oaks (G1), is one of nine stakes on the undercard of the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) presented by Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms at Xalapa, featuring North America’s top-rated Kentucky Derby (G1) candidate Forte.

The Gulfstream Park Oaks will offer 100 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points with additional points going to the fillies that second (40), third (30), fourth (20) and fifth (10),

Dorth Vader collected 50 with her stunning victory in the seven-furlong Davona Dale, in which she closely stalked the pace before drawing off to score at 46.70-1. The daughter of Girvin had finished a disappointing sixth in the Gasparilla at Tampa Bay Downs in her prior start. The Michael Yates-trained filly had previously won back-to-back stakes, the Juvenile Fillies for Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park, and the Sandpiper against open company at Tampa.

Dorth Vader will be eligible to share in an additional $100,000 offered by Florida Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association to registered Florida-breds, as well as another $100,000 available to Florida Sire Stakes-nominated fillies.

WinStar Farm LLC and Siena Farm LLC’s Miracle, and AMO Racing USA’s Affirmative Lady, both graded stakes-placed fillies, are also among the most prominent nominees for the Gulfstream Park Oaks.

Miracle, a New York-bred daughter of Mendelsohn trained by Hall of Famer Todd Pletcher, set the pace in the Feb. 18 Rachel Alexandra (G2) at Fair Grounds before finishing second, beaten by less than a length.

Affirmative Lady, a daughter of Arrogate trained by Graham Motion, was beaten by just a neck in the Dec. 3 Demoiselle at Aqueduct. In her two starts this year, she finished third in the Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct before graduating by 2 ½ lengths at Gulfstream Feb. 26.

Moyglare Stud Farm Ltd.’s Amazing Grace, a multiple Group 1 stakes-placed multiple Group 2 winner in Europe, is nominated to both the $200,000 Pan American (G2) presented by Rood & Riddle and the $150,000 Orchid (G3). The Christophe Clement-trained 5-year-old German-bred mare has been breezing at Payson Park in preparation for her U.S. debut.

The Pan American for 4-year-olds and up, which drew 14 nominations, and the Orchid for older fillies and mares, which attracted 13 nominations, will both be contested at 1 ½ miles on turf.

Trainer Michael Maker is represented on the list of nominations for the Pan American by five horses, including Trinity Farm’s Red Knight, who captured the Jan. 28 Mc Knight (G3) and Jordan Wycoff’s Wicked Fast, who finished third in the McKnight before a troubled fifth in the Mac Diarmida (G2) last time out.

Rachid Racing Inc.’s Marwad and Michael and Jules Iavarone and partners’ Master Piece, who finished second and third, respectively, in the Mac Diarmida, are also nominated to the Pan American.

The Clement-trained Atomic Blonde, a German bred 4-year-old filly owned by West Point Thoroughbreds, Michaela Faust and Heather Winters, is also nominated to the Orchid. The daughter of The Grey Gatsby is a Group 3 winner who is multiple Group 2-placed.

Klaravich Stables Inc’s McKulick, who finished second in the Oct. 15 Queen Elizabeth II (G1) in her most recent start, is nominated to the Orchid. The Chad Brown-trained 4-year-old daughter of Frankel captured the Belmont Oaks (G1) last year.

Personal Best after her grade-making win in the La Prevoyante (Lauren King)

Joseph Allen LLC’s Personal Best, who captured the Jan. 28 La Prevoyante (G3) in her last outing; and e Five Racing Thoroughbreds’ Transient, graded stakes-placed in her last three starts; are also Orchid-nominated.

Mark Breen’s Endorsed, an impressive winner of the Gulfstream Park Mile (G2), leads a list of 13 nominations for the $150,000 Ghostzapper (G3), a 1 1/16-mile stakes for older horses. The Michael Maker-trained 7-year-old veteran is riding a three-race winning streak during Gulfstream’s Championship Meet.

West Point Thoroughbreds and partners’ First Captain, a Shug McGaughey-trained multiple graded-stakes winner who has yet to start in 2023; Fernando Vine Ode and Michael and Jules Iavarone’s O’Connor, a multiple Group 1 winner in Chile who finished off the board in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational (G1) in his most recent start; and Tami Bobo and Tristan de Meric’s Simplification, the 2022 Fountain of Youth winner (G2) who finished third in the Gulfstream Park Mile; are also prominent on the Ghostzapper list of nominations.

The $150,000 Appleton, a mile turf stakes for older horses, drew 18 nominations, including Lael Stables’ Chez Pierre, undefeated in five starts between France and the U.S. before coming up short while coming off an eight-month layoff in the Feb. 4 Tampa Bay (G3).

Pizza Bianca takes the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf under a masterful ride by Jose Ortiz (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

The $150,000 Sand Springs, a 1 1/16-mile turf stakes for older fillies and mares, attracted 21 nominations, including the Clement-trained Pizza Bianca, Bobby Flay’s 2021 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) winner, and Malavath, Moyglare Stud Farm’s Group 1-placed filly who finished fifth, beaten by only 1 ½ lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) in her U.S. debut.

The $100,000 Sanibel Island (25 nominations), a 7 ½-furlong turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies; the $100,000 Cutler Bay (17 nominations), a 7 ½-furlong turf stakes for 3-year-olds; and the $100,000 Sir Shackleton (18 nominations), a seven-furlong stakes for older horses; will round out the stakes action of Florida Derby Day.

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