Delaware Park horses to watch: June 7, 2018
by Frank Vespe
Delaware Park has a solid eight-race Thursday card, and post time is 1:15 p.m. The finale is an Arabian race, and three of the earlier contests are allowances, including the featured seventh, a stakes-quality allowance/optional claimer.
Race 2 – Allowance/optional claiming
- Three-year-olds that have never won twice face off going 6 furlongs on the main track, with an optional claiming tag of $50,000.
- #3 Sparticle (3-2) gets the nods as morning line favorite off a win against high-priced maiden claimers at Keeneland that earned him a 91 BRIS speed fig. It’s the first off the claim for trainer Mike Aro, though, and he’s 0-for-10 in that situation. Mario Pino, who won the stake on Wednesday at DEL, will ride.
- #4 My Boy Lenny (8-5) absolutely dazzled in his debut, winning a maiden special weight race at Tampa Bay Downs by 10 lengths in front-running fashion. In his follow-up, though, he was pressed harder early and weakened late to be third at 1-5 odds. Given a little more time between starts, he may be a little bit sharper today. Trainer Gerald Bennett will leg up Daniel Centeno, who has ridden him in his previous two starts.
- #1 Broad Expanse (8-1) won at first asking back in September at Timonium for trainer Mike Trombetta, and while his follow-up was a mess — he was beaten 26 lengths — the winner that day was the talented Smooth B, who took a stake at Penn National this past weekend. This runner’s been away since late last September and was gelded in the interim but shows a nice progression of works for a barn that can get ’em ready to win off the layoff.
- Selections: 1-4-3
Race 3 – Allowance/optional claiming
- Three-year-olds and up are set to zip five furlongs on the turf in a first-level allowance with an optional claiming tag of $16,000.
- #8 Teak (2-1) is the favorite here and has a sneakily large class advantage on his rivals. The Christophe Clement trainee, a four-year-old Broken Vow gelding, graduated last out on April 22 at Gulfstream and is showing a couple of works at Saratoga since. In his two prior turf tries, he was beaten a length-and-change by the undefeated Imprimis, who won recently won the Jim McKay Turf Sprint at Pimlico, and two lengths by American Guru, who is two-for-three with a second in his career. The only complicating factor is his running style, which to date has been on the engine; other speed sorts here may put him in a bind, though breaking from the outside should help. Daniel Centeno is named.
- If a speed duel develops, the biggest beneficiary may by #7 Ultraflame (3-1). A recent claim by trainer Erin McClellan, the veteran has earned over $280,000 in his career, possesses more of a stalking style, and has never been worse than third in three career turf starts.
- Selections: 8-7-3
Race 7 – Allowance/optional claiming
- Three-year-olds and up will go 1 1/16 miles on the turf in a third-level allowance with an optional claiming tag of $65,000.
- Though just an allowance, this is a stakes-quality field that includes two graded stakes winners, plus three other horses that have won stakes.
- Three of these — Ring Weekend, Murad Khan, and Ghost Hunter — ran in the Henry S. Clark at Laurel in April, a race whose winner, Caribou Club, returned to win the G2 Connaught Cup at Woodbine last weekend.
- #6 Ring Weekend (5-2) is the favorite here. The Graham Motion trainee has earned over $1.5 million in his career, which includes a Grade 1 victory. But he was winless in 2017, though he did kick off this season with a win against allowance foes; he finished seventh as the favorite in the Henry S. Clark. Edgar Prado is up.
- #10 Ghost Hunter (8-1) enters off a win in allowance company on the synthetic at Presque Isle Downs, and trainer Jamie Ness has been keeping this eight-year-old Ghostzapper gelding busy; the Henry S. Clark on April 21 was his season debut, but if he posts today, it will be his fourth start of the year. He was an upset winner of last year’s Grade 3 Arlington Handicap and finished fifth in the Henry S. Clark.
- Trainer Mary Eppler has been red-hot of late, particularly with veteran geldings, which means you’d be wise to give strong consideration to #7 Murad Khan (6-1), who was fourth in the Henry S. Clark and brings his jockey, Horacio Karamanos, with him.
- #8 Western Reserve (7-2) is a stakes winner of over $340,000 in his career. The Kent Sweezey trainee ships down from Monmouth for this one and will have Trevor McCarthy in the irons. He also projects as the main speed here.
- Selections: 8-7-10
Arabian handicapping is provided by our friends at Arabian Finish Line.
Today’s Arabian race is an allowance/optional claiming race at 5 1/2 furlongs. The probable favorite will be Mark Powell’s Big Cork, who won his last start at Sam Houston. Desert Honor and RB Hocus Pocus could finish in the top three at good odds. If he’s ready, Jimdandy Totherehessq, with the winning connections of Cre Run Enterprises, Lynn Ashby and Kirsten Swan, could be a big factor.