by Jo Talbot
Jo ‘s Tuesday selections were a bit of a mixed bag. The four horses in her super ran one-three-nine-ten, which gave her nice bookends of the race. Favored Two Comma Guy, a horse she hoped to beat even while leaving underneath, inched off to a three-quarters of a length victory at 6-5. Meanwhile, her top selection, Street Invader, finished last. Some days are like that. Today we’re handicapping Delaware Park.
Today’s feature race is the only stakes race in the region, the Grover “Buddy” Delp at Delaware Park, a mile and 70 yards on the main track for three year-olds. It’s a field of six, although Michael With Us, lined at 8-1, just won last Sunday in a first level allowance at Monmouth Park, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the field scratch down to five.
The morning line favorite at 9-5 is Rienzi, who has two wins from five starts with one of his wins at today’s distance. He certainly is a well-meant horse, as his owners dropped $350,000 to purchase him as a two year old. He last finished third in the Frederico Tesio stakes at Pimlico, posting a Beyer of 81, and in the race prior to that, he scored a win and an 83 Beyer in a first level allowance at Parx Racing. He has the right profile for the win, but there are a few other logical contenders who can score an upset.
A horse that I do not see winning is Keep the Canoli, who for reasons unfathomable to me, is the second favorite at 5-2. His career high Beyer in seven starts is 68, five below the next lowest Stratocruiser, who is 8-1 and probably overmatched in this field. The other four entrants have all recorded Beyers of 82-85 at least once in their careers. The relevant stats don’t point to any angle that I can discern, and I am not Keeping the Canoli in my picks.
Dreaming of Jazz, the line maker’s third choice at 7-2, is my top selection. He’s got an impressive record of four wins from eight starts, with one second place showing. Three of those wins have been in 2013. He took a huge step forward in his last two races, which is not unusual for three year olds at this point in the season. He has both the best lifetime speed figure and best last speed figure in the field and offers better value than either Rienzi or Keep the Canoli. In his last race he bested Michael With Us by half a length and, as noted above, that one came back to win his next race on Sunday with a career high 85 Beyer.
Where’s Dominic, at 6-1 in the morning line, is another legitimate rival in this group. He tried the synthetic surface in his last outing in a minor stakes at Presque Isle Downs where he finished a mediocre fourth. Dominic’s lightly raced, posting two wins from six tries, with a second and third to his name, and his dirt form could be good enough to win if he takes a small step forward.
Assuming Michael With Us scratches, my top three selections are Dreaming of Jazz, Rienzi, and Where’s Dominic.
Post time for the sixth at Delaware Park is 3:45 and the weather forecast is partly cloudy but dry. Good luck!