Delaware Park horses to watch: August 14
by Frank Vespe
Delaware Park’s Monday afternoon card includes nine races for Thoroughbreds and an Arabian contest. Post time for the card is 1:15 p.m. Some horses to watch:
- Here’s something you don’t see every day: the seventh race is a lifetime claiming event on the turf where the claiming range is from $10,000 all the way up to $40,000, with horses carrying two additional pounds for each $5,000 increase in claiming tag. We’re going to point our attention to the lone horse entered for $40,000 — and thus carrying an impost of 137 pounds. Set to Music (30-1), a Dynaformer gelding out of the multiple Grade 1 winner Pussycat Doll, hasn’t won a race in a while — since 2014, to be exact — but hasn’t run many, either, and in that time did manage a third-place finish in the 2015 Cape Henlopen Stakes over the strip. He’s chased some pretty good horses during that time and took a detour, for his three prior races, into jump racing. Shortening up and finding much easier company than he’s seen before both should help, though carrying up to 20 pounds more than some rivals is a concern. But, heck, at 30-1, why not a shot in the dark? Gerard Galligan will ride for Katherine Neilson.
- The eighth, a third-level allowance, has attracted a salty crew to go a flat mile on the main track for a $40,000 purse. We’re keeping an eye on two runners here. Afleet Willy (2-1) has been away since mid-March — an angle which isn’t trainer Claudio Gonzalez’s best (he’s just one-for-his last 44 off 90+day layoffs) — but when last seen was running lights out. He won three straight against allowance foes, ran sixth, though beaten less than six lengths, in the Grade 3 General George, and then was head-bobbing on the wire to be second in the Harrison Johnson Memorial Stakes. That latter was won by Matt King Coal, who then ran an excellent second in the Grade 2 Charles Town Classic. Regular pilot Victor Carrasco will ride. One other to watch here is Ain’t Got Time (8-1). The Delaware lover — five wins in 10 starts locally — was a disappointing fifth in the Carl Hanford Memorial after getting cooked in the early pace, but a slight cutback in distance may help. With Scott Spieth up, the Tim Ritchey trainee will look to get a second-flight type of trip.
Analysis of Arabian racing provided courtesy of our friends at Arabian Finish Line.
The final race at Delaware Park today is a $15,000 claiming race for fillies and mares who have never won three races going six furlongs for a purse of $8,500.
Risky Red, from the barn of Scott Powell and Quarter Moon Ranch, looks at a weaker spot to finally get her first win of the year. She’s been running frequently (like less than 7 days between races) but tries hard. She has finished second or third in five of her 11 starts this year. Merlot MHF once again gets Keibar Coa in the irons, who is doing really well on the Arabians this year. It’s possible if Sierra Winds or Big Girls Are Better run well for them to get a top three finish.