From a Delaware Park release
Princess of Sylmar, locally-owned by King of Prussia Stable and foaled about thirty miles from Delaware Park, tops the 77threnewal of the Grade I Delaware Handicap this Saturday. The mile-and-a-quarter $750,000 filly and mare summer classic has attracted a field of six, and Princess of Sylmar is the even-money favorite.
Last year, the Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Majestic Warrior won four consecutive Grade I races starting with a half-length score in the Kentucky Oaks. The 4-year-old conditioned by Todd Pletcher followed with victories in the CCA Oaks and Alabama at Saratoga, and the Beldame at Belmont Park.
In 2014, she has made two starts, notching a 3 ½-length triumph in the Cat Cay Stakes at Aqueduct on April 6 and finishing second by a head against Close Hatches in the Grade I Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park on June 7. She has a career record of nine wins and two seconds from 13 starts with earnings of $1,852,220.
There has been only one Pennsylvania-bred to win the Delaware Handicap. Mrs. H.D. Paxson’s home-bred filly Heavenly Ade won the race in 1980.
If she wins the Delaware Handicap, her trainer, Todd Pletcher, will set the record for most wins by a trainer in the Delaware Handicap. Currently, he has four victories. He won the Delaware Handicap in Irving’s Baby (2001), Fleet Indian (2006), Unbridled Belle (2007) and Life At Ten (2010). He is tied with legendary Delaware Park trainer Henry Clark who won the race with Endine in 1958 and 1959 and Obeah in 1969 and 1970.
Also, her jockey, Javier Castellano, will be celebrating his tenth wedding anniversary on race day.
Grade 2 Fleur de Lis winner Molly Morgan is the second favorite in the morning line, at 3-1. Trained by Dale Romans, the five year-old daughter of Ghostzapper has five wins from 21 career starts and earnings of $368,239. In her only prior foray into Grade 1 company, she ran second in this year’s La Troienne at Churchill Downs. Corey Lanerie will ride.
Preston Stable’s Flashy American (7-2) will look to rebound after finishing second by four lengths against Molly Morgan in the Grade II Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs on June 14. Previously, the Kentucky-bred trained by Kenneth McPeek won the Grade III Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne Park on April 19. The 5-year-old daughter of Flashy Bull has a career record of eight wins, four seconds and three thirds from 27 starts with earnings of $557,971.
“She is a rock solid mare,” McPeek said of Flashy American. “During her career, we tried pretty much everything with her. She has pretty much settled into going long on the dirt. As long as you run her two-turns on the dirt, she has been pretty much right there every time. She is coming into the race great. This is as good as she has ever been. She is a really easy mare to be around, but at the same time, she is a big tough filly.”
Chasing Tail Stables’ Gamay Noir (10-1) has a victory over the track. In her most recent, the 4-year-old daughter of Harlan’s Holiday closed from off-the-pace behind fractions of :49.78 for the half mile and 1:13.67 for the three-quarters mile before notching a half length score in the Grade III Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park on June 14. Previously the Kentucky-bred trained by Martin Wolfson ran third in the Grade III Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne Park on April 19. On March 29, she won the Grade III Rampart Handicap at Gulfstream Park. She has a career record of five wins and five thirds from 14 starts with earnings of $301,866.
Wolfson has had success in the Delaware Handicap before. In 2009, Icon Project finished second and in 2010, Miss Singhsix finished second, but only Miss Singhsix used the Obeah Stakes as a prep, while Icon Project did not.
“I have been fortunate to have run some nice fillies in this race and they have run well,” Wolfson said. “It just depends on the horse. I really do not think it matters. I think the best horse typically wins regardless. I am out at Gulfstream Park now and it is pretty close to the same kind of surface, in terms of handling, as Delaware. When I was at Calder, it was a totally different scenario.”
Belle Gallantey (10-1), most recently fifth in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps, and Bryan’s Jewel (15-1), winner of last year’s Grade 3 Obeah at Delaware Park, round out the field.
(Featured photo NYRA/Adam Coglianese.)