Delaware Park horses to watch: July 3
by Frank Vespe
Delaware Park has a 10-race pre-holiday card this afternoon, with the tenth being an Arabian race. Here are some horses we’ll be keeping an eye on:
- In race 4, a one-mile, main track claiming contest, Ham Smith trainee #2 Boosting (8-1) may appreciate stretching back out to two turns, and a bit of a drop in class, after a rough outing going seven furlongs at Laurel Park. Two back, she ran second in a Maryland-bred allowance and the runner-up that day returned to be second against open allowance foes. Bug girl Ashley Castrenze will ride.
- Race 5 is a bottom-level maiden event going 5 1/2 furlongs, and the horse we’re most curious to see — though not necessarily bet on — is #7 Old Faithful (6-1). The Larry Jones-trained son of Hard Spun makes his debut here, and what’s so intriguing about him is that he’s a three-year-old who cost $220,000 at auction (!) and has been working reasonably forwardly. There are obviously issues, or he wouldn’t be making his debut at the bottom — but you don’t often see a $220,000 purchase debut for a claiming tag of just $5,000. Brian Pedroza is up; he and Jones are two-for-two together in the last 60 days.
- Race 6 is a $12,500 claimer going a route of ground on the turf, and the most intriguing runner here is #5 Captain Dixie (7-2). This runner, now trained by Katherine Neilson, who claimed him out of his last, finished his 2016 season with three consecutive tries in graded company, finishing fourth in all three, including the Grade 2 Dixie at Pimlico, in which he was beaten just three-quarters of a length. Off from last August to June 5, he closed to be second in his season debut at 7-10 odds; this has the feel of a claim that could be a good one for trainer Neilson — or a disaster. This race figures to help tell the tale.
- Race 8 is a rugged turf sprint for three-other-than horses with a $40,000 purse. The favorite is #1 Sunnysammi (2-1), who’s been stakes-placed in her last two, including a second in The Very One at Pimlico in her season debut. The race also includes #4 Elusive Joni (3-1), who finished just behind Sunnysammi in The Very One and likely hopes to catch firm turf here; and #5 My Sister Caro (6-1), a stakes-placed runner who has two wins and a second from three tries over the Delaware turf.
Our new coverage of Arabians at Delaware Park is provided by Stephanie Corum and our friends at Arabian Finish Line. Check them out at http://www.arabianfinishline.com/.
Maidens are going 6 furlongs in the Arabian race. Lynn Bennett owns the morning line favorite, RB Sand Castle – a royally-bred colt who has finished second in both his starts this year. Maybe today is the day? Garrett Ford has an entry in this race, first-time starter Highh Shine (another really strong pedigree) and Air Patron, who finished third in his initial outing. Air Patron gets Keibar Coa, who is hot with the Arabians right now. Mystical MHF is the wildcard here. A stunningly beautiful
chestnut, this colt finished second at Delaware Park in his only start last year. He’s been off for 10 months – not from injury but rather the owner letting this colt grow up. He has the looks, the pedigree and the talent to win, but he may need this race.