Motion gunning for ninth Dick Memorial triumph
Sweet Sandy. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
From a Delaware Park release
The Grade 3 Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park — the 2018 edition of which takes place Saturday — isn’t the personal property of trainer Graham Motion.
It just feels that way.
Since Motion won the Delaware Handicap with Power Play in 1997, he has always made a point of making sure he has starters in the big Delaware Park races. In addition to winning the Delaware Handicap and the Delaware Oaks twice each, the 54-year-old native of Cambridge, England, has won the Robert G. Dick Memorial eight of the 21 renewals of the race. He won the last two with Guilty Twelve (2017) and Real Smart (2016). He also won the Robert G. Dick Memorial with Caprice in 2009, Rosinka in 2007, Alternate in 2003 and 2004, New Economy in 2002nd Bursting Forth in 1998.
“These weekends coming up at Delaware Park always fit very well into our timing with our horses, and they are always very much on our radar every year,” Motion said. “We have been involved with many of these races for many years and it is important for us to continue to support these local big weekends. The Robert Dick is a race where we have had a lot of success, so we like to make sure we are involved with it and it is also an excellent opportunity for some of these fillies to get some graded black type.”
Motion sends out Wertheimer et Frere’s Esquisse in Saturday’s renewal, which is carded as race eight.
Esquisse is seeking her first victory in North America. In her most recent, the 4-year-old daughter of Dansili finished unplaced in in the mile-and-a-quarter $600,000 Grade II New York Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8. In her two other starts this year, she finished second in a Belmont turf allowance on May 18 and third in a Keeneland turf allowance on April 11. Last year, she posted a record of two wins, a second and a third from six starts while campaigning in France.
“She is doing well,” said trainer H. Graham Motion. “I was actually very disappointed with the outcome of her last race. Certainly, we stepped her up into a very competitive race, but I also thought we got caught up in a tough situation where we chased after a very fast pace unnecessarily, so I would look for a more conservative race.”
Esquisse is 9-2 on the morning line and is the third choice.
Sallusto and Albina Racing’s Palinodie tops the $200,000 Dick. The mile-and-three-eighths affair for fillies and mares has attracted a field of nine.
Palinodie (5-2) has a career record of a win, two seconds and five thirds from 12 starts, with earnings of $109,172. In her most recent outing, the Christophe Clement trainee finished fourth beaten a length in the mile-and-three-eighths $200,000 Grade II Sheepshead Bay over the Belmont Park turf on May 5. Previously, the 5-year-old daughter of Doctor Dino finished third in the mile-and three-sixteenths $150,000 Very One on the Gulfstream Park turf on March 3.
The Tom Proctor trainee Creative Thinking (7-2) also looms a logical contender. The Creative Cause filly, owned by Brereton Jones, has won both of her ultra-long turf tests and last out dominated the $70,000 Keertana Stakes at Churchill Downs, winning by five lengths. Adam Beschizza will ride.
Post time for the Dick is 4:45 p.m.
ROBERT G. DICK MEMORIAL STAKES FIELD
1. La Manta Gris (8-1): Like to see Leparoux aboard here, but otherwise, this one looks like minor awards likely ceiling; thrashed by #8 in here last out though perhaps of note most of the margin of defeat came in the final eighth
2. Good Roll (15-1): Appears to be a tall order for a mare who has lost at the N2X level six straight
3. Broken Bridle (15-1): Unclear if the added ground will do this one many favors; well-beaten in last but not that winner A Raving Beauty came back to win in G1 company with a 100 Beyer; likely to be somewhat forwardly placed at this lengthy trip
4. Palinodie (5-2): Trainer Clement generally doesn’t tilt at windmills, and this one’s two recent tries vs. graded foes compete here; has a win at the trip; gets McCarthy up, though, oddly enough, the jock-trainer combo has lost 13 straight
5. Esquisse (9-2): Winless in three North American tries since coming over and last out was thrashed by G2 rivals; combo of trainer Motion and rider Vargas has been strong
6. Sweet Sandy (15-1): Useful return to the races last out when second vs. allowance foes and may appreciate the added ground here; will nevertheless need a big one
7. Tricky Escape (8-1): Was a decent fourth in this event a year ago and owns a G3 win at MTH; exits same race as #3 and finished ahead of that rival; note this one will race without blinks for the first time in her 17-race career
8. Creative Thinking (7-2): Tom Proctor trainee has won two straight at 12 furlongs, so this one – at 11 – shouldn’t be an issue; impressed in the Keertana when tons the best; lightly raced 4yo still has some upside and rates a major shot in here
9. Giovanna Blues (6-1): Another who’ll shed the blinks, this one for the first time in 10 races; has lost six straight, most not close; last was a plus heat, with three next-out winners, two taking stakes, from it