Delaware Park horses to watch: June 22
by Frank Vespe
Thursday’s Delaware Park feature is a $38,000 allowance test going six furlongs on the main track. Post time for the seventh is 4:15 p.m.
Oddly enough, the two favorites present almost exactly opposite profiles.
On the one hand you have Tricky Zippy, the 3-2 morning line favorite in a field that, after scratches, has just five runners. She’s the sort generally preferred in allowance races, the lightly raced horse working through her conditions. She owns a New York-bred stakes victory. Two back she ran second against similar, beaten only by the very promising Shimmering Aspen, who was an impressive winner in the Alma North Stakes on Saturday at Laurel Park.
She’s by City Zip, a stallion who stands for $50,000.
She’s also a horse who has major questions to answer. She hasn’t won a race since 2015, a span which, because of apparent injury, includes just five races. And in her last start, in a New York-bred stake, she was defeated by some 30 lengths.
On the other hand, there’s Moon Vision (2-1). She’s a daughter of Pollard’s Vision, who stands for just $3,000 — in Oklahoma. The six-year-old has made 37 career starts, including seven so far this season.
She’s also the most formful horse in the field. A win here would give her seven wins this season, tying her for the most of any horse in North America. Since being claimed by Scott Lake for just $5,000 last October, she has seven wins and two runner-up efforts from nine starts, most in starter allowance company. and her one loss this season came to a horse herself on a three-race winning streak.
Call it a white collar vs. blue collar contest.
The day’s second race is a maiden claimer on the turf (post time 1:45), which has drawn a mostly nondescript group of eight. The wagering action figures to center on — and the winner likely come from — a group of three horses: Socaroo (5-2), who was fourth last out against slightly better and whose trainer has a positive ROI bringing horses back off layoffs; Angel Gio (7-2), who drops all the way from the $25,000 level, where he was fourth, to $7,500; and Brushed by Fire (4-1), who will try turf for the first time and is a sib to two turf winners.
One horse we’re curious about is the first starter Smartness (8-1). The Smarty Jones gelding, trained by Fenneka Bentley, has been working steadily since late April in preparation for this race, and he ought to like the grass: his dam was stakes-placed on the lawn, and his sire, Smarty Jones, has thrown some decent turf runners.