by Ted Black
One weekend after the Belmont Stakes brought an end to the Triple Crown series that primarily focused on the nation’s best three-year-old colts, it will be the fillies and mares that take center stage Saturday afternoon in a pair of stakes at Delaware Park.
Both the Grade III, $100,000 Obeah Stakes for fillies and mares at nine furlongs and the $75,000 Go For Wand Stakes for three-year-old fillies at one mile and 70 yards are actually prep races for two far more lucrative stakes that Delaware Park will offer next month. The Obeah is the final prep for the Grade I, $750,000 Delaware Handicap on July 20, while the Go For Wand is the last local prep for the Grade III, $300,000 Delaware Oaks on July 13.
Obeah Stakes (G3) – Post time 4:15
- Bryan’s Jewel
- Fire Assay
Running time: 1:51 1/5[/boxify]
Although the Obeah Stakes offers only a compact field of six distaffers looking for a potential free pass into the Delaware Handicap next month, the race could also offer bettors some value. Granted, Bryan’s Jewel looms as the solid choice based on her two recent efforts at Delaware, including a handy score in the J Rooney Memorial over a wet fast main track and she does sport a 3-2-3 slate and $148,000 banked in nine previous outings over the strip.
But two starts back, Bryan’s Jewel finished second in the Winter Melody Handicap in one of the track’s two preps for the Delaware Handicap. She was then pointed to the Rooney, which initially was slated for the grass only to be switched to the main track courtesy of last weekend’s heavy rains. Bryan’s Jewel splashed to success that day, but such efforts under ideal circumstances are rarely duplicated as followers of Freedom Child can attest after last week’s Belmont Stakes.
Finding one or two mares that can beat Bryan’s Jewel in the Obeah is not an easy task, however, since four of her rivals do not have any recent races. Access To Charlie has been idle since March; Star’s Tizzy Fit won two straight routes against lesser at Pimlico in March and April; Fire Assay has not run since an April allowance score at Parx and And Why Not has not run since April and has not won since capturing her career debut at Saratoga nearly two years ago.
So the only possible upsetter in the Obeah is Ciguaraya, who finished a well-beaten third behind Onepointthreekarats and Bryan’s Jewel in the Winter Melody last month. But Ciguaraya needed the race, having not started since January, and she did post a 10-1 upset in the $50,000 Crowned Stakes over the Delaware main track last fall when Bryan’s Jewel settled for third.
Go for Wand Stakes
- Disco Barbie
- Ile St. Molly
- Alli Leigh
Running time: 1:41[/boxify]
One race later on the card a modest group of three-year-old fillies will go postward in the Go For Wand, with the main objective for many of them being the Delaware Oaks next month. The top four finishers in the Go For Wand will get a free pass into the Oaks, although likely only the top two finishers will take advantage of that offer.
Like the Obeah, the Go For Wand features a filly that will garner most of the public’s support and savvy players will be looking to beat her. Alli Leigh has won both of her starts for trainer Steve Asmussen since being treated with Lasix, but both were at Oaklawn Park and the most recent victory came two months ago. She may rule as the favorite, but this looks more like a tightener for the Oaks for Alli Leigh and at 8-5 she’s a solid bet against.
Two other fillies, Tell a Great Story and What You Know were impressive winners at Pimlico last out, while Golden Joop was a beaten favorite in her most recent allowance outing at Old Hilltop. What You Know won smartly in her career debut at Pimlico in April and bypassed an allowance race at Belmont Park on Thursday to stay in the Go For Wand. She probably needs a little more seasoning, however, before garnering her first stakes tally.
Four of the fillies, Disco Barbie, Broomsage, Missy Rules and Ile St. Molly competed in the divided Our Mims Stakes over the strip last month. Missy Rules won her split in 1:38.88, while Ile St. Molly prevailed in her division in a much quicker 1:37.19, with Disco Barbie a close second. Those two look like the two most logical horses to upend Alli Leigh and that exacta could pay quite nicely based on their respective 9-2 and 6-1 morning lines.