I’m a Chatterbox survives objection in Del Cap win
by Frank Vespe
I’m a Chatterbox survived an objection by the rider of runner-up Paid Up Subscriber en route to a two-length victory in this afternoon’s Grade 1, $750,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park.
It was another 4 1/4 lengths back to Penwith in third. I’m a Chatterbox, the odds-on favorite, paid $3.20 to win and with the second favorite occupying the place spot topped a $6.80 exacta.
The Del ‘Cap topped a four-stakes day in Stanton, including the Grade 3 Kent and a pair of $50,000 events.
While at the end I’m a Chatterbox was clearly best, it was the beginning of the race that had everyone abuzz. The chestnut Munnings filly, under Florent Geroux, took a left leaving the starting gate, bumping with Milaya to her inside. That triggered a chain reaction that hindered longshot Money’soncharlotte and knocked second choice Paid Up Subscriber and rider Ricardo Santana, Jr. almost sideways.
Oddly enough, it also didn’t do I’m a Chatterbox any particular favors, at least on the racetrack. Mei Ling and rider Jose Ortiz took advantage of the chaos to her inside to shoot across the field and into the lead. That caused I’m a Chatterbox to steady slightly, and she found herself last and on the outside in the first jumps.
At the same time, though, I’m a Chatterbox’s compromised position, which she herself caused, may have helped her in the stewards’ stand later.
John Wayne, Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission executive director, told reporters after the race that the stewards “said the four horse [I’m a Chatterbox] came in, had bumps with the three [Milaya] and the two [Money’soncharlotte], which in turned bumped the number one [Paid Up Subscriber]. After the bump, the number four lost ground as much as anyone else and was four lengths behind the one after the bump.”
Wayne continued, “They [the stewards] thought that the bump and the fact that the four horse was four lengths behind the one, it didn’t cost the one horse a placing. And the one horse never lost stride for the rest of the race.”
After the rough and tumble break, I’m a Chatterbox moved up outside horses to attain a stalking position just off the pace and outside of Mei Ling, dogging that one through a half-mile in a solid 47.72 seconds and three-quarters in 1:12.82. I’m a Chatterbox ratcheted up the pressure at that point, and though Mei Ling stuck with it for another quarter-mile, it was clear that I’m a Chatterbox had her measure.
Meanwhile, Paid Up Subscriber, tracking the lead duo, came under a ride with a half-mile to go and stuck with it willingly to the end. While she ran on gamely to the wire, she never was able to cut much into her rival’s advantage. Her best shot came after the race, during the objection, but that was disposed of, too.
The announcement that the objection had been overruled led to a big cheer from the winner’s circle and the fans gathered around it.
“We’re ecstatic,” said Carolyn Gray, who with her husband Fletcher bred and owns I’m a Chatterbox. “I have to say, it [the inquiry] was a deja vu. I couldn’t believe it. It was nerve-wracking.”
Had she been taken down, I’m a Chatterbox would have been on the very short list of horses twice disqualified from Grade 1 wins. In last year’s Coaching Club American Oaks, I’m a Chatterbox won a nose victory but was disqualified after brushing runner-up Curalina late in the race, with that rival put up to first.
I’m a Chatterbox, trained by Larry Jones, is now two-for-two at her summertime home. She won the Obeah Handicap, a $100,000 ungraded event, by 8 1/2 lengths on June 11. She now owns seven wins from 14 career starts, and the winner’s share today gave her dead aim on $2 million in career earnings. She currently has more than $1.8 million.