Delaware Park horses to watch: June 13, 2018
by Frank Vespe
Nine three-year-olds are scheduled to face the starter Wednesday afternoon in the Stanton Stakes at Delaware Park, bidding for the winner’s share of $50,000 and a free nomination to the Grade 3 Kent Stakes coming up July 14. The race is contested at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
Sand Dancer has been installed as the 5-2 morning line favorite, and the Tim Hills trainee enters off a hard-fought victory in the Woodhaven Stakes at Aqueduct. The Eskendereya gelding held off another runner here by a neck to earn the second win of his eight-race career, but his overall resume is stronger than it may appear; it includes competitive (albeit losing) efforts against the likes of the multiple graded stakes winner Maraud and graded stakes-placed runners Therapist and Channel Cat. Though Trevor McCarthy had the mount for the winning Woodhaven effort, Daniel Centeno will ride here.
That’s because McCarthy is named aboard the Christophe Clement trainee Up the Ante (7-2). Last out, in a Belmont Park allowance, the Smart Strike colt posted a front-running score versus allowance foes, winning off by three lengths while ridden out.
Just behind Sand Dancer in the Woodhaven was Archaggelos (9-2), whose four-wide bid was turned away that day. Trained by Michael Dickinson, the Temple City colt took the Grade 3 Grey on the all-weather track at Woodbine as a juvenile and has never been worse than second in three turf starts. Mario Pino will ride.
Trainer Gary Capuano has two horses in the entries, neither of which has relevant turf form to speak of. Threes Over Deuces (8-1) will try turf for the first time — he’s a son of Flat Out — and enters having run second in three straight, two of them stakes. Two-time restricted stake winner Whirlin Curlin (10-1) will make his second turf start, his first having come in just his second career outing. He’s been thrashed in each of his lat four starts.
Trainer Graham Motion adds Nakamura (10-1) to the mix. The Animal Kingdom colt broke his maiden two back at Laurel Park and last out was fourth, beaten a couple, in a 1 1/4-mile allowance at Belmont Park. Jorge Vargas, Jr. will ride.
Jag (20-1), who is still a maiden; first-time turf runner Coach Adams (15-1); and recent Tampa allowance winner Silent Citizen (10-1) round out the field.
Post time for the Stanton, which is carded as the eighth race, is 4:45.
- #4 Up the Ante (7-2): Pace makes the race, and this guy figures to be the one controlling it; like to see McCarthy pick this guy over the chalk; turf was rock-hard at BEL in last start, but final running time — 1:33.75 for a mile — nothing to sneeze at; sib to a stakes winner and poised to become one himself
- #2 Nakamura (10-1): Trainer-jock combo of Motion-Vargas 36 percent in the last two months with a positive ROI; came home fast in a slow early-fast late race to break maiden two back at LRL; not too concerned by even effort in lengthy BEL allowance, thinking shortening up bolsters late kick
- #9 Sand Dancer (5-2): Stakes winner has kept perhaps best company in the field; training well enough while away since 4/21 score, but note trainer Hills just eight percent off similar layoffs
- #8 Archaggelos (9-2): G3 winner on synth hasn’t done much wrong on the green, either, with a win and a stakes placing; couldn’t get past #9 in here two back, and follow-up try was just OK; capable on best
Arabian handicapping is provided by our friends at Arabian Finish Line.
The last race of the day is for Arabian maidens going 5 1/2 furlongs, and there are a number of well-bred horses here. The entry from Allegro Arabians and Jerenesto Torrez will likely be the favorite. Burn Em Joey was second in his last start and his entrymate, Big Ben AA is running for the first time. The morning line favorite comes from the star barn of Rosebrook Farm and Jerenesto Torrez. Rosebrook is known for having early maturing horses. This son of Darley Horse of the Year TM Fred Texas is a half-brother to 2-time Darley Champion RB Nash. Another first time starter, Uptown Cruisedirector, is a half-brother to the stakes-mare Throughleap and could get up for part of the purse.