Updated on 09/17/2011 11:53AM

Dakota Light takes over on top

Jean Raftery
Dakota Light ($7.80) is tops of the local fillies with her six-length win in Saturday's $40,325 Snazzle Dazzle Stakes at Calder.

MIAMI - What a difference a year makes.

At this time last season Ivanavinalot was the undisputed leader of her division, dominating the locally based 2-year-old fillies throughout the summer and fall. Among her victims during that period was Dakota Light, who valiantly but futilely chased Ivanavinalot across the wire on several occasions.

Saturday, however, saw the official changing of the guard. Dakota Light moving to the top of the division after drawing off to an impressive six-length victory in the $40,325 Snazzle Dazzle Stakes. Ivanavinalot, in her first start since mid-June, was eased across the wire nearly 40 lengths behind the winner.

Dakota Light began her slow but steady climb to the top with a second-place finish behind the odds-on Ebony Breeze in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks this winter at Tampa Bay Downs. A versatile sort, Dakota Light made the Snazzle Dazzle her third overnight stakes win here this year, with one of those victories coming on the turf. She also finished second in two other grass stakes.

Trained by David Brownlee for owner-breeder the J.D. Farms, Dakota Light was ridden to victory in the Snazzle Dazzle by Eibar Coa, who was reunited with the filly for the first time since the Florida Oaks. She paid $7.80 as the second choice behind Ivanavinalot in the one-mile race which was taken off the grass and moved to a "good" main track. Dakota Light was timed in 1:40.66.

As for Ivanavinalot, trainer Kathleen O'Connell had hoped to launch the filly's comeback on the turf in the Snazzle Dazzle, but those plans were washed away by several days of steady rains. Winless since her victory in the Grass 2 Bonnie Miss at Gulfstream Park in March, Ivanavinalot raced within easy striking distance of the leaders for five furlongs, only to fall back suddenly and steadily around the second turn, after which she was not abused by jockey Gary Boulanger through the stretch.

"She seems to have come back fine," O'Connell said several hours after the race. "Gary said he thought she took a bad step, and he didn't want to take any chances with her. I'll just have to wait a few days and see how she's doing before making any decisions on what we'll do with her next."

* Jockeys Eddie Castro and Phil Teator, who were taken to the hospital after going down in a three-horse spill in Friday's finale, both returned to action on Saturday. Castro is currently the meet's leading rider and the winningest apprentice jockey in the country this year.