Delaware Park horses to watch: August 21
by Frank Vespe
Delaware Park’s 10-race Monday afternoon card features nine for Thoroughbreds and one, the last, for Arabians. Post time is 1:15 p.m. Some horses to watch:
- The seventh is a 1 1/16 mile first-level allowance on the turf with a full and competitive field. We’re curious to see how Miss Gracer (6-1) takes to the turf. The Mike Stidham trainee — a half-sister to classy sprinter Cinco Charlie — won impressively at first asking in early June on the main track and then was fourth after getting bumped in her follow up. This will be both her first turf try and her first effort around two turns. Another intriguing runner in this spot is Nawlins Kitty (9-2), a Kitten’s Joy filly making her first start in the Kelly Rubley barn. She’ll also be making her first start since last October 21. Her prior connections always treated her like a good horse. After she won at first asking in June 2016 at Churchill Downs, they jumped her right into stakes company at Indiana Downs, where she crossed the wire first but was disqualified, and in her follow up she was beaten less than two lengths in the G3 Pucker Up. Her subsequent tries left something to be desired, though, and she’s been on the shelf for 10 months. On the plus side, she’s been training forwardly, and if she’s the filly they’ve thought her to be, she could be tough in here.
- The eighth is a $36,000 allowance/optional claimer with a $16,000 tag for three-year-olds and up going six furlongs on the main track, and it brings together a mix of young up-and-comers and hard-hitting veterans. The favorite is Thurman Merman (2-1) who gave a good accounting of himself but could not go with the talented Winplaceorshowono last out, finishing second by nearly three lengths. Equally — or perhaps even more — promising is The Hardest Way. The sophomore Uncle Mo colt crushed Laurel Park maidens by over five lengths last out, and the runner-up, Cedartown, defeated Monmouth Park maidens August 19. Since the addition of Lasix, The Hardest Way has run two big ones and a third might get him the money here. Sheldon Russell is scheduled to ride.
Arabian handicapping provided by our friends at Arabian Finish Line.
Eleven horses are entered in a $12,500 claiming race today headed by the favored entry of Lil Dude AA and RB Hocus Pocus from the powerhouse barn of Jerenesto Torrez and owners Joe and Betty Gillis. Risky Red, who has been racing once or twice a week, just won last week and looks to add to that. RB Hot Date gets the service of current leading Arabian jockey Keiber Coa and could easily be among the top 3. Kao Maloan SWA, will probably be a longshot, but stepped up last time out to win at this track. He could play a significant role.