Delaware Park Racing Notebook, Vol. 16
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
- LAST PLAY – Stidham first-time starter with some impressive turf breeding looked like a winner in the stretch but raced greenly and seemed to lose focus a bit in the crucial stages to lose debut in a photo. With the experience of that race under her belt this filly shouldn’t be long leaving the winless ranks.
- MIZ BERNIE – Overcame a rough trip to win last while racing five furlongs in :58.87. Might be able to handle raise in class and also looks like would appreciate a bit more distance.
- MISS GRACER – Has run two bang-up seconds on the turf after breaking her maiden earlier in the meeting here. Took all the worst of it breaking from the 10 post going a mile on the turf, a post position that is even more difficult to win from with the temporary rail set out 35 feet. May not be big price next start but will be hard to go against.
- MEANBONE – Was impressive scoring a runaway win last out and time of 1:11.14 was faster than the time good optional allowance fillies posted for six furlongs later in the program. Wouldn’t be surprised to see this one handle a class jump next start.
Delaware Park clocker has this to say about several noteworthy morning moves
- PRINCE LUCKY – Corinthian colt who won at first asking worked a sharp five furlongs in 59 4/5 on September 25 in preparation for the First State Dash on Owners’ Day.
- WINPLACEORSHOWONO – Ron Alfano trainee who finished third to top Jones colt Running Mate in sprint run in 1:09.74 last start worked a solid half in :47 on 9/25. He’s entered in the New Castle Stakes on Owners’ Day.
- TAXABLE GOODS – Lynn Ashby gelding who finished second with $40,000 level maidens in his debut, turned in a good gate move, drilling five furlongs in 1:01 1/5 and galloping out six furlongs in 1:14 on September 21. He’s also entered in the First State Dash on September 30.
JOCKEYS AND TRAINERS
Jomar Torres was on fire last week, winning five races from eight mounts — with an average win payoffs of $14.00!. Torres, whose apprenticeship was over in February, is well on his way to establishing himself as one of the top riders of the Mid-Atlantic region.
Apprentice Jose Bracho and Ricardo Chiappe each won four races. Bracho is another with a bright future ahead of him. Chiappe is one of those riders who doesn’t always get the notice he deserves, but he’s popular with the horsemen and finished fourth in the standings at Delaware Park last season.
Bracho, in fact, is one of just three riders with a wagering return on investment of at least $2.00 (that is, a $2 win wager on each of his horses would return $2 or more). Bracho is right at the $2.00 mark. Torres leads the colony with an ROI of $2.42, while Scott Spieth, who is second in the colony with 41 wins, has an ROI of $2.13.
Just eight wins separates the track’s leading trainer this meet from the 10th place trainer. The last week didn’t do much to separate that group.
Six trainers each won two races last week. Graham Motion, Jerenesto Torrez, Simon Hobson, Jeff Trosclair, Claudio Gonzalez, and Andrew Simoff each captured a pair of races. Gonzalez and Simoff both went two-for-two during the week.
Torrez leads the meet with 20 wins to date, but Larry Jones and Anthony Pecoraro are right on his heels with 19 wins apiece. Pecoraro, with an ROI of $2.41 per $2.00 win wager, is one of three trainers among the top 10 by wins with a positive return on investment. The others are John Rigattieri ($2.48) and Joe Arboritanza ($2.17).
One notable trainer not on the top 10 by wins is Jorge Diaz. He is just off the list, with 12 wins to date, from 89 starters (13 percent strike rate); his winners are averaging a $25.50 payoff on a two-dollar wager, giving him an ROI of $3.44.
TRACK BIAS REPORT
- 09/18 – Track was on dull side and favored stalkers and closers throughout the day, as well as horses far out from the inner rail.
- 09/20 – Surface favored speed rivals and horses racing close to the pace as rail continued to be a bit dull.
- 09/21 – Track continued to be speed-favoring.
- 09/23 – Surface was mostly speed favoring although one winner came from well off the pace.
HANDICAPPERS NOTE – There have been changes in the track maintenance department of late, and the main track has changed a bit in the past three weeks. Overall, times on the main track have slowed and times for the final quarter mile have definitely slowed. Visually the harrow marks seem a bit deeper than in the past and many runners appear to be struggling and tiring in the stretch runs.