Delaware Park Racing Notebook, Vol. 4
by Doug McCoy
Every week during the Delaware Park racing season, The Racing Biz will publish The Delaware Park Racing Notebook. This page is designed to give helpful information to both horseplayers and horsemen about the racing picture at Delaware Park from the past week.
In the notebook, you’ll find:
- “Horses to watch” section highlighting both horses who have shown promise those who may have had poor “trips” in their last starts.
- “Clocker’s Corner” where track clockers will point out horses who have worked in noteworthy fashion during the past week.
- Track tendencies or biases during the week’s races. While it would be great if every race track was completely fair and even and an equal number of speed horses, stalkers, and closers won each day, observant handicappers know this just isn’t the case. Every track’s tendencies and biases (favored styles) change and vary, often from one racing program to the next due to any number of factors, most notably weather. While these changes are often minor, there are also days where a certain type of horse (like a speed horse) has a decided advantage, and there also days where one portion of the racing strip is a better spot to race over (like the inside) than another.
- Leading trainers and jocks and who’s been hot during the last week.
HORSES TO WATCH
- ALPHONSUS – This former Euro runner from the respected training yard of John Oxx was fractious in the paddock prior to his U.S. debut and first start in almost a year for Graham Motion, but despite breaking slowly in a mile and a sixteenth allowance route on the turf, he advanced nicely then uncorked a blistering middle move through the final turn before running down the leaders through the stretch in convincing fashion. This one looks like he can handle tougher competition and can also go longer.
- POP BY – Another Motion runner owned by Flaxman Holdings, the racing operation for the famed Niarchos family, she finished third in her second U.S. start but is well bred. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see her progress nicely in the future.
- PARADE BLUE – It took a while for this Speightstown colt to make it to the races but he made up for lost time in his debut as he overcame breaking from the rail (very few first time starters win at first asking from the rail post), shot to the front inside then drew off powerfully through the stretch, winning off like a good thing. This one may show up in a small stake somewhere next out.
- CEDARTOWN – This half brother to a $550,000 graded stakes winner had the misfortune to run into Parade Blue for his debut but still posted a solid second after working smartly leading up to that race. The Mike Stidham trainee won’t be much price next start, but he’ll be awfully tough to beat.
- MAST COVE – Hopped at the break to be left behind his field in a five furlong turf sprint but managed to overcome his poor beginning to swing outside turning for home and close like a shot along the far outside to get beat a diminishing neck. A decent start is all this one needs to win with same next start.
Delaware Park clocker has this to say about several noteworthy morning moves
- YOU KNOW TOO Mike Gorham’s talented 3-year-old filly who came off the shelf in smashing fashion earlier in the meet, continues to train smartly, working a solid six furlongs in 1:14.80 and galloping out well in 1:27.
- VITTORIOSO – Larry Jones trainee drilled a sharp five furlongs in 1:00.80 as she continues to prepare for her first start since February when she lost all chance in an allowance optional claiming sprint by rearing at the start.
- MONBA MIA – Drilled a sharp half mile from the gate in :47.80 while getting ready for his first start since last September.
Carol Cedeno is starting to take control of the local rider’s race, and last year’s leading rider had another strong week, winning with four of the 16 mounts she accepted. Veteran Scott Spieth, one of the craftiest riders in the room, also won four races from 12 starters last week and is tied for second in the overall standings.
Alex Cintron won with three of eight mounts while finishing second on two others, and Edwin Gonzalez, who recently switched agents, and Ashley Castrenze both had three winners last week. Apprentice Jenn Miller won with two of the three horses she rode.
JOCKEYS AND TRAINERS
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On the trainer’s side of the slate defending champion Jamie Ness came to life last week, winner with two of 9 starters and also had three other runners finish second. The Ness outfit has been a bit quiet in the first month of the new meeting.
Jerenesto Torres, who is here for the first time this year from the Southwest with a string that is split between thoroughbreds and Arabians, won with 2 of his six starters while Lynn Ashby, the queen of the Arabians, also won two races from five starters.
Michael Catalano, who is back this season after racing elsewhere for several summers, is having a good meet so far with a stable that is loaded with young horses. Catalano started four horses last week and won with two of those runners while Graham Motion and Anthony Pecoraro, overall leader in the standings, both won with two of three horses they sent to the post. Maryland power Kieran Magee won with both horses he shipped in with last week.
TRACK BIAS REPORT
- 06/26-The racing strip was a bit tighter than in past weeks as speed rivals were able to hold their leads longer and were tougher to run down in the lane. The inside was also a bit better.
- 06/28-Surface continued to be a bit kinder to speed although close up chasers and stalkers also did well. The rail was pretty dull with the 3-4-5 paths being the preferred places to race into the stretch.
- 6/29-Track played reasonably fair for this card with close up chasers and stalkers having the most success but speed rivals also were in the mix.
- 07/01-A strange day as there were several wire to wire winners to go with mid-pack closers, but it should be noted the bulk of the successful speed winners were also heavy betting favorites, suggesting their class edge may have had as much to do with their success as the track surface did.