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Davona Dale Remains Only Thoroughbred to Win Filly Triple Crown and Triple Tiara

Updated on September 24, 2011
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Barbara Anne Helberg is a Fiction freelancer, Internet writer, WordPress blogger, former Journalist, and a Famous Writers School graduate.

Davona Dale is No.90 on the "Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century" list.
Davona Dale is No.90 on the "Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century" list. | Source

In the merry-go-round of choosing the best racehorses who ever stepped on a track, Davona Dale should always be mentioned, but she seldom is given top billing. Female Thoroughbreds, generally, are considered less accomplished than their male counterparts. However, the facts speak differently for a plethora of girly-girl runners.

In one year, 1979, Davona Dale won the USA's Filly Triple Crown and its New York Triple Tiara, the two most premier events for three-year-old fillies. That remains an accomplishment never challened by another female Thoroughbred.

Davona Dale Super Star

In true Triple Crown fashion, Davona Dale in 1979 ran at Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky, at Pimlico Race Course, Baltimore, Maryland, and at Belmont Park, Elmont, New York. The three-year-old filly won the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico, and the Acorn Stakes at Belmont.

All three locations are those at which male Thoroughbreds run their Triple Crown series, the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, respectively.

In 1979, Davona Dale's victories in the Oaks, the Black-Eyed Susan, and the Acorn constituted a sweep of what was called a national (USA) Filly Triple Crown. Over the years, the distances, the locations, and the three races themselves have been changed, reviewed, and changed again as to what is annually determined to be the top triple series for fillies. The Filly Triple Crown has been dropped, and the New York Triple Tiara is the reigning prestigious series for three-year-old females.

Davona Dale paid no attention to such press hype and changes. She made certain of her single achievement by also winning the Mother Goose Stakes by a whopping 10 lengths and the Coaching Club American Oaks, which was a 1-1/2 miles trek in 1979. Those two races, along with the Acorn, were 1979's New York Triple Tiara event.

Davona Dale, who traced to Nearco in her paternal house, and was a granddaugher of 1958 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner Tim Tam in her maternal family, flew through a double triple in 1979. And in the final race of that five-race victory shout, the American Oaks, she finished an impressive eight lengths ahead at the wire.


Spectacular Bid Falls Short

Spectacular Bid was making a spectacular bid for American Thoroughbred racing's twelfth Triple Crown championship in 1979, but it wasn't to be for The 'Bid, who also traced to Nearco in his paternal sire's chart. Regardless of his third place finish in the Belmont Stakes after wins in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, Spectacular Bid was the Thoroughbred of the moment, overshadowing the seasonal feats of Davona Dale.

The brilliant great-great-grandson of Nearco had to wait for 1980 to be named Horse of the Year. In 1979, he was given the Eclipse Award for Champion Three-Year-Old Male, while Davona Dale added Champion Three-Year-Old Female hardware to her trophy case.

Davona Dale's Racing Honors

Besides her 1979 Eclipse Award, Davona Dale earned her place as the fifth USA Filly Triple Crown champion, membership in the American Racing Hall of Fame, to which she was elected in 1985, and a stakes named to honor her, the Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

In three years of racing, Davona Dale, sired by Best Turn, by Turn-to, by Royal Charger, by Nearco, and foaled by Royal Entrance, by Tim Tam--Prince's Gate, by Sun Again--Siena Way, by Bull Lea--Hyroplane II, Davona Dale won 11 contests from 18 posts.


Racing for Famed Calumet Farm

One of three filly Eclipse Award winners from 1977 to 1981 for famed Calumet Farm, Davona Dale's eight-race win streak in 1979 stood out even against the racing victories of Tim Tam. Her scores in the biggest races for females were mostly uncontested in the stretch.

While Tim Tam was one of Calumet's latter male phenoms, Davona Dale's three-year-old campaign gave the stable a continued jump-start with home-breds throughout the 1970s. Trainer John M. Veitch handled Calumet's Thoroughbreds during Davona Dale's career.

The big bay filly added $641,612 to Calumet's coffers from 1978 through 1980. In addition to her victories, Davona Dale placed twice and ran third once.

In Blood-Horse Publications' Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century, Davona Dale is ranked No.90, well behind Spectacular Bid's No.10 spot.


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