11/18/2016 9:30AM

Florida foes meet again in Delta Princess

Leslie Martin/Coglianese Photos
Dude Fantasy (left) defeated Cajun Delta Dawn when the two met for the first time in the My Dear Girl Stakes.

Cajun Delta Dawn and Dude Fantasy, who emerged as Florida-bred standouts at Gulfstream Park, both have landed in Louisiana for the Grade 3, $400,000 Delta Downs Princess on Saturday.

The Princess, at a mile, is one of eight stakes on a $2.3 million program led by the Grade 3, $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot. It also is part of a pick four on races 4-7 that has a minimum guaranteed pool of $200,000. First post is 1:45 p.m. Central.

Cajun Delta Dawn and Dude Fantasy sparred during the Florida Sire Stakes series. They are part of a 10-horse field Saturday that includes Golden Mischief, winner of the local prep the My Trusty Cat, and Caroline Test, who exits a fourth-place finish in the Alcibiades at Keeneland. The first four finishers in the Princess will earn Kentucky Oaks eligibility points on a scale of 10-4-2-1.

Delta Downs Princess (Race 6)


Cajun Delta Dawn, by Kantharos
Last 3 Beyers: 68-74-60

◗ She suffered the first loss of her five-race career last out in the $500,000 My Dear Girl, finishing fourth to winner Dude Fantasy in the 1 1/16-mile race. Cajun Delta Dawn was the favorite after taking three consecutive stakes, including the Desert Vixen and Susan’s Girl.

“Her last race was just an unfortunate draw,” said trainer David Fawkes, noting the filly started from post 13.

◗ The My Dear Girl was the first race at two turns for Cajun Delta Dawn, and Fawkes looks forward to another shot at the trip. She was beaten 1 1/4 lengths after contesting the pace in the My Dear Girl.

“The way she ran last time, there’s no reason I shouldn’t want to run her two turns,” he said.

Fawkes added that Mr. Jordan, by the same sire as Cajun Delta Dawn, recently set a track record for 1 1/16 miles in a stakes at Gulfstream Park West.

Dude Fantasy, by First Dude
Last 2 Beyers: 70-65

◗ She is undefeated in two starts, having won her debut in a maiden special weight sprint before taking the My Dear Girl by three-quarters of a length.

“She only had the one start going into it, but she handled everything so well,” said trainer Ralph Nicks. “We had a good inside trip, she made no mistakes, and when she was finally able to get out turning for home, she ran them down. She showed a lot of maturity in the second race of her life.”

◗ Dude Fantasy could get a strong pace to run into in the Princess.

“Her biggest attribute is she’s very professional, very adaptable,” Nicks said. “She can stalk, sit off of it. She handles dirt in her face well. If they go fast up front, it would probably be beneficial to her.”

◗ Tyler Gaffalione has the mount on Dude Fantasy, while Juan Leyva will ride Cajun Delta Dawn.