Delaware Park horses to watch: July 19, 2018
by Frank Vespe
Delaware Park has a pretty standard-issue, eight-race card teed up for Thursday, July 19, and as these things sometimes go, once in a while a race card is a cause for reflection.
Take the two most interesting races on the docket. They’re a pair of $16,000 maiden claimers on the turf with full fields, and while they’re both for three-year-olds and up, they’re not exactly two divisions of the same race. The third will be contested at a mile and 70 yards, while the fifth is scheduled for 7 1/2 furlongs.
Not exactly the biggest difference in the world, but there you go.
The third, in particular, feels like an exercise in “horses who were bred to be better than this.”
There’s a sophomore Ghostzapper colt (stud fee: $65,000) set to make his career debut at the $16,000 level. There’s Trust the Process, a Shackleford gelding who cost $75,000 at auction as a two-year-old, has been uncompetitive in two tries to date and now finds himself making his way down the ladder.
There are also a pair of More Than Readys (stud fee: $75,000) — Highland Bowl (7-2), unplaced in five starts, and More Than Teddy (10-1), who’s winless in 15. And don’t forget about the two English Channels (stud fee: $25,000) in Idle Wind (12-1) and English Channical (6-1); the former is unplaced in three starts and the latter, placed just once in a dozen.
None of which is to run down these horses, or their connections; it’s merely a useful reminder that, just as good horses can come from anywhere, so, too, can horses that aren’t all that productive on the racetrack.
While the fifth has some of the same types — including an English Channel and a Cape Blanco — the runner who caught my eye was the #1, Mister Obvious. Chances are you’ve never heard of his sire — Twisted Mister — but I have.
That’s because, for a brief period late in his racing career — just over two months — I owned him. He was a decent enough race horse, a hard-knocking sort who won five times in his career and made over $129,000 without ever competing in a stake.
We claimed him, and we owned him for all of two starts before he was claimed away from us. The first of those, on December 23, 2006, resulted in a 1 3/4-length victory over $18,000 claimers and helped propel us to a merry Christmas two days later. And then we lost him via the claimbox, the same way we’d obtained him. He made a handful of further starts before vanishing from the radar screen.
Only to show up again as a sire, a not implausible outcome for a well-bred son of Mr. Greeley — but a pretty unlikely one for a horse who never won a stake and competed at the nickel level in the second-to-last race of his career.
He’s made less of a dent as a sire than he did as a racehorse. According to Equibase, he’s had only two progeny make starts this year, Mister Obvious, still a maiden after 14 starts, and His Reins of Fire, a two-time winner and earner of about $40,000 in his career.
A thin reed, perhaps, but it’s enough for me. I’ll be hoping that, for Mister Obvious, the fifteenth time is the charm.
Post time for today’s card is 1:15 p.m.
Arabian handicapping is provided by our friends at Arabian Finish Line.
No Arabian races today.