Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Bickersons Looks To Enhance Her Image

Posted by Brian Appleton on February 27, 2010

Bickersons winning the Forward Gal

The Davona Dale Stakes (gr.2) hosts a talented and seemingly deep field of three-year-old fillies, all making their early bids for the Kentucky Oaks. With the depth of runners entered, the result could be decided by experience rather than raw talent. Bickersons caught nearly every horseman’s eye last month when she won the Forward Gal Stakes (gr.1) at Gulfstream Park by a scintillating 7 lengths. In her wake she left champion 2-year-old filly and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies victor She Be Wild. The Forward Gal was Bickersons first start of 2010, previously she closed out her two-year-old year by winning the Moccasin Stakes at Hollywood Park in November, then finishing 5th in the Hollywood Starlet (gr.1).

Sassy’s Image won the two premier juvenile filly races at Churchill Downs last year when taking the Pocahantas Stakes (gr.3) and then the Golden Rod Stakes (gr.2) less than a month later in a tease. Trainer Dale Romans had the filly sharpened as tight as a loaded spring for her three-year-old debut at Gulfstream in the Sweetest Chant Stakes and the result was an easy 4 ½ victory in the slop. That makes 3 consecutive stakes Sassy’s Image has been able to string together.

Santa Ynez (gr.2) victor Amen Hallelujah will be making her first start on dirt in the Davona Dale. Trainer Rick Dutrow has had the filly working very well in preparation at Gulfstream. Last year as a juvenile Amen Hallelujah placed second in two grade 1 stakes before finally breaking through with her first stakes victory in the Santa Ynez. She has one the nicest names I’ve ever heard, but whether or not she can handle the dirt and the step up in class remain questionable. If her very consistent synthetic form translates smoothly to dirt, she could end up playing a major role.

Christine Daae rounds out the top four choices in the Davona Dale. Although this filly is lightly raced and just broke her maiden in her last start, the way in which she won has had people buzzing ever since. After stalking the pace throughout the race, the daughter of Giant’s Causeway swept clear in the stretch for an 8 ¾ length victory in a sparkling time of 1:21.67 for seven furlongs. Many people expect her to live up to her name and sing a glorious aria in the Davona Dale while at the same time proving it was no phantom anomaly she uncorked in her last start. Her training up to this race had been phenomenal and hints at a big performance in store.

I’m going to place the proverbial noose around my neck here and state that I do not think she will win here. I think she

Bickersons winning the Moccasin

Sassy Image winning the Sweetest Chant

is very talented and has limitless potential but I believe the combined talent and experience of Bickersons and Sassy’s Image will most likely result in a one-two finish of those two. Bickersons in particular looks like a powerhouse. In her Forward Gal win she was coasting so easy down the stretch that Jockey Joe Bravo had the reins loose on her neck. She literally did it all on her own without breaking a sweat.

The Sham Stakes at Santa Anita has been delayed due to drainage problems yet again.

Don’t forget to watch the veteran runner Precious Passion attempt to retain his victorious crown the in the Mac Diarmida Stakes (gr.2) at Gulfstream Park. He won this event last year and looks to return to his front-running winning ways today.

In other news Backtalk made a successful return to the track in his three-year-old debut Friday at Delta Downs. The son of Smarty Jones won his first two-turn race in the one-mile allowance race. After being bumped early in the race Backtalk stalked in third, swept five wide into the stretch and drove to the wire to win by half a length over front-running Royal Express. This win puts the colt squarely back on the Derby trail after two unplaced efforts in the


Hopeful Stakes (gr.1) and Breeders’ Futurity to finish out his juvenile year. Prior to his two unplaced efforts the colt went undefeated when winning the Bashford Manor Stakes (gr.3) and Sanford Stakes (gr.2) at Churchill Downs and Saratoga respectively. I was very excited to see such a sharp return from Backtalk as I’ve been saying since the beginning of the year that I felt he was the real deal and would make a successful return to the races in his 3 year old debut.


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