In Focus: Wagering G1 Delaware Handicap Pick Four
Abiding Star. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
Our In Focus Guide offers the most in-depth analysis and commentary on the four stakes on Saturday’s Delaware Handicap card at Delaware Park.
RACE 6 – CARL HANFORD MEMORIAL STAKES
RACE PARTICULARS: Race 6 (post time 3:49 p.m.), $50,000 purse, 1 1/16 miles, three-year-olds and up
THE FIELD IN FULL
- Ain’t Got Time (3-1) – Probably a little quicker back than trainer Ritchey would prefer, but this DEL-lover had an absolutely useful first local start July 6 and on the stretch-out to a two-turn event rates a major shot in here. Three-time local stake winner won this event two years back.
- Adirondack King (2-1) – Veteran enters off a good try in the G3 Salvator Mile but working on an eight-race losing streak. Owns right to run a good one in second off about a two-month break.
- Discreet Lover (10-1) – May not have liked going in last, but let’s not hold it too strongly against him; note winner was freakish Seymourdini, who’s won three straight by combined 35 lengths. Runner’s stakes record: 15-0-2-3.
- Sea Raven (8-1) – Tough assignment for this Rubley runner, who has been in the money six of eight times at the trip. Can run well here in second off a five-month break but likely to need career-best effort.
- Mister Nofty (10-1) – Recent form is not promising, but this Keith Nations runner owns a stakes win at today’s distance over the strip and shows a bullet work since last, his first race since last September. Local stalwart Pedroza remains aboard, and this lightly raced sort still has the right to improve.
- Abiding Star (10-1) – Mister Nofty’s biggest concern might be this Ned Allard-trained Uncle Mo colt – because both’ll want to be in front early. This guy ripped off a five-racing winning streak last winter and spring, snapped when running up the track in the Preakness. Since, though, his only win – and only time he hit the board – came in claiming company on the turf.
- Twocubanbrothersu (5-1) – Consistent veteran has nine wins at the trip, five at DEL, and is working on a 10-race streak of finishing one-two, most in claiming or starter company. He’s another who figures to be forwardly placed but will need to run a big one here.
- No Distortion (6-1) – Lodged career-best win in the Long Branch a year ago at MTH but hasn’t won in last five. Jones trainee hasn’t run since May but is working forwardly since, was well-beaten by Seymourdini in last but also well clear of rivals. Has generally done best work up front, but last out showed improved stick-to-itiveness to best rivals as winner pulled clear.
- #1 Ain’t Got Time — Useful return and stretch-out to two turns over favorite racing strip do the trick.
- #2 Adirondack King — Good try in last, can move forward here.
- #4 Sea Raven — Tough assignment but should benefit from expected lively pace.
- #8 No Distortion — Showed improved persistence last out versus runaway winner.
PICK 4 PLAY
> 50-cent wager starting with Race 6
Ticket (cost: $22.50)
- RACE 6 – 1, 2, 4
- RACE 7 – 2, 6, 7
- RACE 8 – 1, 2, 4, 5, 6
- RACE 9 – 5
Always Sunshin. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
Race 7 — HOCKESSIN S.
RACE PARTICULARS: Race 7 (post time 4:21 p.m.), $50,000 purse, 6 furlongs, three-year-olds and up
FIELD IN FULL
- Eighty Three (2-1) – Boy, this guy’s sure kept the right sort of company – note Classy Class, Delta Bluesman, Limousine Liberal on his company lines – and nothing wrong with most of his performances. Plus, he loves the trip – eight of nine in the money. Youngster Gaffalione in for the ride’s not a bad sign, either – but I dunno, trainer Jacobson’s record off similar breaks isn’t great, and recent works a bit head-scratching.
- Never Gone South (6-1) – First blinks gave this Lynch trainee improved zip and an improved result – first win since January ’16. Class is there – stake-winner was a good third at big odds in the G3 General George – and might now be ready to live up to early promise.
- Debt Ceiling (10-1) – Work tab for local stake winner shows three bullets for ’17 debut and like to see rider Pedroza remain, but this is an awfully tough assignment.
- Baduke (15-1) – Jockey Montano listed as staying aboard for first DEL assignment this meet, but it’s a far cry from CT N1X horses to the types of runners he’ll face here.
- Measured (8-1) – Probably a useful enough return from a five-month break last out when fourth in a money allowance at PRX, and runner-up returned to be second in G3 event. But this guy doesn’t win much and will need the pace to fall apart to get there.
- Always Sunshine (5-1) – G3 winner’s last couple spur doubt, but not so fast: let’s toss last, on turf versus rugged group, and two back, he was compromised by a bad break on a major speed-favoring strip. Get him in the mix early, and there’s no reason to think he can’t compete here.
- Chief Lion (3-1) – How much money can you earn without winning a stake? This Jacobson trainee has put $600k in the bank without an added money score, has five wins at the trip and will be winging it from the front. A clean break puts him on the lead, and his best efforts compete with these. Picks up local leader Cedeno in the irons.
- Struth (8-1) – Owns five wins at the trip and stuck with it last out after a bad break to earn second against Never Gone South. Stakes tries leave something to be desired, though, and jockey Karamanos passes on this event.
- #6 Always Sunshine – Expecting return to better form.
- #7 Chief Lion – Figures to lead early but in stakes company always finds a way to give it up late.
- #2 Never Gone South – May be ready to deliver on early promise.
- #1 Eighty Three – In a day with some strong favorites, this is one worth trying to beat.
Frostmourne. Photo by The Racing Biz.
Race 8 — GRADE 3 KENT STAKES
RACE PARTICULARS: Race 8 (post time 4:55 p.m.), Grade 3, $200,000 purse, 1 1/8 miles (turf), three-year-olds
THE FIELD IN FULL
- Zinger (12-1) – Not sure he would have won last time, but the trip didn’t do him any favors, either, and his prior stakes try – against eventual G3 turf winner Cowboy Culture plus G2 dirt winner Girvin – was no disgrace. One-for-eight turf ledger gives pause, though, for half-bro to G1 I’m a Chatterbox.
- Lunaire (9-2) – Nothing wrong with turf work of this half to graded turf winner Sadler’s Joy, as top two from last won next out, including stakes win for Bricks and Mortar. Added ground – and experience – make this one live.
- Adonis Creed (6-1) – Brilliant Speed gelding was a bit keen early in the Stanton but stuck with it to the end. Breeding says added ground should be no problem, and like to see rider Cancel here.
- The Tortoise (15-1) – Misnamed frontrunner has turned in two bang-up efforts since switched to the lawn, and two from last-out win won their follow-ups. He figures to be the one with the target on his back – and the class questions to answer.
- Master Plan (2-1) – Certainly has kept the right kind of company – company lines show Belmont winner Tapwrit, undefeated Timeline, flighty but talented Thunder Snow, etc. Has two wins from three on the lawn and every right to added a graded score here.
- Frostmourne (8-5) – Maturing sophomore scored nicely in G2 Penn Mile – but beaten rivals are 0-for-5 next out. Made a snappy move to put last one away in a heartbeat, and not inclined to be concerned by the added ground – but note that rider Ortiz, who’d ridden last two and worked him in the mornings, passes on the trip.
- Hot and Heavy (15-1) – Compromised two back when breaking inward and thrashed by The Tortoise but probably isn’t quite this quality. Rider Russell and trainer Pecoraro both in the midst of big meets. Note last out rider Pedroza jumps ship and will ride #4 here.
- #4 The Tortoise – Major class questions to answer but the price should be right.
- #5 Master Plan – Owns a win over the track, and Pletcher’s not shipping without having designs on getting the money.
- #2 Lunaire – Headed in the right direction, and added ground a plus.
- #6 Frostmourne – Flashy Penn Mile winner can repeat here but isn’t a lock.
Songbird. Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO.
Race 9 — GRADE 1 DELAWARE HANDICAP
RACE PARTICULARS: Race 9 (post time 5:30 p.m.), Grade 1 $750,000 purse, 1 ¼ miles, Fillies and mares, three-years-old and up
THE FIELD IN FULL
- Miss Mo Kelly (15-1) – Interesting to see Gorder trainee wheel back on relatively short rest off a middling effort against allowance foes. She’s a stake winner, which counts for something, but her graded tries have been pretty dismal, and she’ll need a pace meltdown to compete here.
- Martini Glass (8-1) – Local runner is as formful as can be, with three wins and a second in last four and lost by just a neck in the local prep for this, the $100k Obeah, in which she ran well against a speed bias Two rivals from that race won next out, including stake winner Curlish Figure. Dam did her best work going two turns on the lawn, but unraced sire’s offspring are 0-for-19 at 1 ¼ miles or beyond. Will need a huge one.
- Weep No More (6-1) – Deep closer has been bested by the favorite here twice by a combined 25 lengths, including lone try at the trip. Career-best was shocking 30-1 win in ’16 G1 Ashland at KEE, but she hasn’t been able to replicate that effort since. The combination of blinkers on today and the stretch out might put her a bit closer to the pace early, and if others can press the favorite – an enormous, king-sized, gargantuan if – she might pose best chance at an upset.
- Line of Best Fit (12-1) – Formful veteran knows where the wire is, owning 15 wins in 38 career starts, five in her las six tries. The problem: these were all against allowance types, and in six races, only one runner other than this one has won her next start, suggesting these might not be the toughest fields. This seven-year-old mare has never gone beyond a mile 70 yards, making this a tricky test, especially given the giant class jump. She figures to be forwardly placed early, but it’ll take some doing if she’s to be around late.
- Songbird (1-5) – Anyway you slice it, this four-year-old Medaglia d’Oro filly towers over her rivals: eight Grade 1 wins to her rivals’ combined total of one, 10 90-plus Beyer speed figures to her rivals’ combined total of one, and, for good measure, a seven-length win at her only try at 10 furlongs. She shows three sharp works since her win in the G1 Ogden Phipps to kick off her season June 10, brings regular pilot Mike Smith with her, looks to be able to control the pace if she wants – it says here all systems are go.
- Hone In (15-1) – It would be a major shock if this Smart Strike mare were to get a piece here. The last time she recorded a Beyer speed figure above 70 on the dirt was 2015 and in her lone try against graded foes, that same year, she lost by 44 lengths.
- #5 Songbird – The champ’s just too good for these.
- #2 Martini Glass – Somebody has to finish second… right?
- #3 Weep No More – Probably won’t get the pace she needs and isn’t as good as #5 anyway, but she’s the only other runner here with a G1 score.
- #4 Line of Best Fit — Modest two-race win streak ends here but tactical ability gives her a shot at the board.