01/05/2012 1:45PM

Gulfstream Park: Daveron starts final campaign in Marshua's River

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Barbara D. Livingston
Daveron, winner of the Ballston Spa at Saratoga, is the highweight in the Marshua’s River.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Everybody would like to think they get better with age. Daveron actually has. The 7-year-old mare is coming off her best season yet and will launch what could be her final campaign when headlining a full field of 14 fillies and mares set to go 1 1/16 miles on the turf in Saturday’s extremely competitive $100,000 Marshua’s River at Gulfstream Park.

Daveron, who began her career in her native Germany before shipping to the United States in 2010, won three of her four starts in 2011 for trainer Graham Motion, including the Grade 2 Ballston Spa and Grade 3 Beaugay. Her lone setback last year came in the Grade 1 First Lady, when she finished third behind the recently retired Never Retreat following a somewhat troubled trip.

Daveron was purchased for $750,000 at the Keeneland November sale by Live Oak Plantation who promptly sent her back to Motion at Fair Hill. The German-bred shipped to south Florida in December and has had two half-mile turf works at Palm Meadows in preparation for her 2012 debut.

“The owners have decided to keep her in training, at least for the time being,” Motion said. “There’s a good shot they’ll breed her this year, considering she’s seven, but there’s no reason why she couldn’t run a time or two first, even if that’s the case.”

Motion attributed the fact that Daveron did a lot of her training in the relative anonymity of Fair Hill in 2011 as at least a partial reason for her becoming a late-bloomer.

“She is a horse who did very well at Fair Hill,” Motion said. “She’s a tough, gritty mare who’s kind of keen and can be a handful in the morning. She’s also a very light filly, so I don’t do very much with her. Those two half-mile works at Palm Meadows were around the dogs, which is like going five-eighths, so she should be fit enough, but this looks like a very competitive race and she’s got to give weight to a lot of nice fillies.”

Daveron will carry top weight of 123 pounds under the allowance conditions of the Grade 3 Marshua’s River, six more than her 13 rivals. Rajiv Maragh will replace the injured Eddie Castro in the saddle.

Daveron’s stiffest challenges may come from Tapitsfly and Louvakhova.

Tapistfly, the 2009 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies turf winner, missed her entire 3-year-old campaign but returned to win one of nine starts last season. She also was second, beaten less than two lengths by Daveron, after setting the pace in the Ballston Spa.

Louvakhova began her career in France, where she was never worse than second in six starts before shipping to North America and launching her U.S. career with an impressive 4 1/2-length victory in the Frances Genter Stakes at Calder on Oct. 15. Louvakhova has been entered three times since that race and was scratched on each occasion by trainer Marty Wolfson, once after drawing the outside post for the Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs and twice when stuck on the also-eligible list earlier this meet.

Other key contenders in the Marshua’s River include last year’s runner-up Persuading, Grade 3 winners Jenny’s So Great and It’s Tea Time, the Grade 3-placed La Reine Lionne, and multiple stakes winner Trip for A. J.