Delaware Park Racing Notebook, Vol. 19
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
- PUCON – Was shuffled back and forced to alter course before closing fast in late stages but ran out of stretch. Clear trip should make this one tough to handle next out.
- NICK CAN FIX – This Nations runner came off an eight-month layoff with a smashing effort, looping his field before drawing off with a flourish late while covering six furlongs in 1:10.06. Watch for this one to show up in a small stake sometime soon.
- MELLO GROOVE – Dropped too far off the pace in early portion of sprint won by Nick Can Fix, and while he finished full of run outside, was left with too much to do in the crucial stages.
Delaware Park clocker has this to say about several noteworthy morning moves:
- SO YOU KNOW – Runner now trained by Keith Nations has been on the shelf since a rough trip in April, gave every indication he’s ready to return to action with a sharp 1:00 4/5 move from the gate on October 14.
- NEW WORLD – Regally-bred Stidham maiden (by Bernardini out of multiple G1 winner Stellar Jayne) who turned in a dull race in his debut at Laurel came back with good five-furlong drill of 1:01 on October 17th.
- TEXAS ZIP – This Sheppard runner looks like he’s finally realizing the potential he flashed early in his career. Following a win in which he was less than a second off the track record for 1 1/16 miles on the turf last out, the gelding came back with a solid 1:01 3/5 move. Watch for him on the turf soon.
JOCKEYS AND TRAINERS
The competitive balance of both the jockey and training colonies at Delaware Park this season is graphically illustrated in the standings as the titles for leading jockey and trainer may not be decided until closing day on Saturday.
The jockey’s race is going right down to the wire as veteran Scott Spieth and defending champion Carol Cedeno headed into the last four days of racing with just a single win between them.
Spieth won with four of his 12 mounts last week, to give him a one-win lead over Cedeno, who won with three of 20. Spieth’s performance tied him with the resurgent Angel Serpa for week’s leading rider honors, as Serpa also won with four 12 rides. Cedeno and Jevian Toledo tied for the next spot, Cedeno winning with three of 20 rides, while Toledo was a strong three-for six.
Daniel Centeno will close the meet as leading turf rider. The veteran jock won with 17 of 80 grass mounts — 21 percent — to top Spieth (14-for-69, 20 percent).
The battle for leading trainer is a dandy with Jamie Ness, Scott Lake, and Anthony Pecoraro, as well as Arabian trainer Jerenesto Torrez, each deadlocked with 21 wins moving into the final week of the 81-day meeting. Larry Jones is just two back with 19 victories.
Lake and Ness had big weeks last week as both won four races; Lake’s four wins came on 11 starts, while Ness scored with four of 12 starters. The week’s top performance, though, went to Maryland power Kieron Magee, who won with four of the five horses he sent to Delaware last week.
With turf racing done for the meet, Delaware — fittingly, given the overall trainer standings — will end up with a three-way tie among trainers for most wins. Pecoraro, Arnaud Delacour, and Kelly Rubley ended up with six wins apiece on the lawn.
TRACK BIAS REPORT
- 10/09 – Track was sloppy and sealed most of the card Monday.
- 10/11 – The strip played reasonably fair as the inside of the track continues to improve. More and more horses are either setting the pace inside or making up ground from off the pace along the rail.
- 10/12 – Again the track gave both speedsters and late runners a chance.
- 10/14 – Distance was the key for Saturday’s card as stalkers and closers fared best in sprint races while speed dominated the two turn races.