In Focus: Wagering Delaware Handicap Day 2019
Bronx Beauty proved best in the Penn Ladies Dash at Penn National. Photo by Allison Janezic.
Our In Focus Guide offers the most in-depth analysis and commentary to the five stakes, including the G2 Delaware Handicap, Saturday at Delaware Park!
Plus, these picks can help you play our FREE handicapping contest!
RACE 4 – DASHING BEAUTY STAKES
RACE PARTICULARS: Race 4 (3:01 pm EDT), $100,000 guaranteed purse for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, 6 furlongs
- Le Weekend (8-1): Has struggled in allowance company in her last few races, and now jumps into tougher waters. Must improve sharply to win.
- Bronx Beauty (6-5): Ran a dud in her first start off the layoff, but rebounded sharply to win last out at Penn National with a big speed figure. Worked sharply at Monmouth Park last Saturday gearing up for this spot. Jose Ortiz, in town to ride Elate in the Delaware Handicap, picks up the mount.
- Ms Locust Point (3-2): Classy mare was outkicked by Bronx Beauty last out, after setting an absolutely brutal early pace. In spite of that, she still held on to finish second. She barely held on tow in at Laurel Park two starts back after setting a fast pace, and won two races recently when getting a very easy lead. She can hang in there no matter what the pace scenario is, but the slower the better up front.
- Last True Love (12-1): She hasn’t been a factor in three consecutive races against similar. Could suck up for a piece if the race falls apart.
- Yorkiepoo Princess (4-1): Reeled off a string of big races in the fall, but hasn’t done much so far this year. Possesses the best closing kick in the field, and should be heard from late.
- #2 Bronx Beauty (6-5): In form now, overwhelmed second choice last time
- #3 Ms Locust Point (3-2): Plenty of class, will try to take ’em all the way
- #5 Yorkiepoo Princess (4-1): Will seek to kick on late
Dynatail winning the 2017 Penn Oaks. Photo by The Racing Biz.
Race 5 — JUST A KISS STAKES
RACE PARTICULARS: Race 5 (3:37 pm EDT), $100,000 guaranteed purse for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, 1 1/16 miles (turf)
THE FIELD (post position order)
- Goiaba (8-1): She’s been in steadily improving form since her return off a very long layoff. Even though she finished last in the Miss Liberty last out, it was only a four-length defeat, and featured her highest recent speed figure. Is she peaking at the right time?
- Unbridled Escape (20-1): Will be a part of the early pace, but I expect her to fade after around half a mile.
- Dynatail (9-2): Was in good form all year long, before a dull performance in the Eatontown. Drops back to listed stakes company, where historically she’s performed much better. Should rate off the pace and pounce on the turn. For more on Dynatail, click here.
- Quick Witted (15-1): Closed well last out despite being impossibly wide. Doesn’t have any speed whatsoever, so she’s at the mercy of the front-runners. If they don’t collapse, she’s in trouble.
- Lift Up (5-2): Fell far behind a slow pace in her first race off the layoff against better last out. You can draw a line through that race. She’s undefeated over the Delaware turf, and consistently ran great figures last year. Expecting improvement second off the layoff.
- Good Roll (20-1): Another deep closer making her second start off the layoff.
- Drop Dead Red (12-1): Makes her first start on the turf since February, where she led in the stretch, only to get run down in the last few jumps. Trainer Francis Abbott, usually based in Maryland, is 3-for-5 with his invaders to Delaware. Should get a good trip rating on the outside.
- Monte Crista (15-1): Got some time off after two very dull races over the winter in Florida. Lightly-raced four-year-old filly won a stakes at Saratoga last year. Might need a race to get re-acclimated
- Capla Temptress (8-5): Plunges in class after trying the Just a Game last out at Belmont. Won the My Charmer last winter, and looks like she’s rounding into form at the right time. The clear-cut one to beat.
- #9 Capla Temptress (8-5): Too much class for these
- #5 Lift Up (5-2): Delaware lover can move forward here
- #1 Goiaba (8-1): Could be peaking right now
- #3 Dynatail (9-2): Looks for stalk-and-pounce trip and bounceback effort
Always Sunshine is the defending champ in the Hockessin. Photo by Allison Janezic
Race 6 — HOCKESSIN STAKES
RACE PARTICULARS: Race 6 (4:13 pm EDT), $100,000 guaranteed purse for three-year-olds and up, 6 furlongs
- Colonel Sharp (3-1): Comes in off a sharp victory over this track against allowance company, where he rated and pounced. Multiple stakes winner should get a good trip on the inside.
- Altissimo (9-2): Ohio-bred ships to the East Coast for the second time, having lost the Dave’s Friend by a head against Colonel Sharp last December. He’s won two stakes against his fellow Buckeyes this year, although he hasn’t yet been as fast as he was last year. Ohio-based jockey Christian Pilares comes in for the mount.
- Arthur’s Hope (8-1): Blew away a salty allowance field at Parx last out, and has been in good form all year if you take out an inexplicably bad allowance try two back at Aqueduct. He might not have the class of the rest of these, though.
- Always Sunshine (2-1): Absolutely crushed first off the bench, and his workouts have been impressive as well. Looking to win this race for the second year in a row.
- No Dozing (8-5): Very much a mixed bag. He ran a huge race in his season finale last year, before a disastrous effort in his 2019 bow last out. His workouts since then have been monstrous, which raises the question: which version of him will show up? Only time will tell.
- #4 Always Sunshine (2-1): Looks to defend crown, usually fires fresh
- #2 Altissimo (8-1): Has been taking care of business vs. lesser
- #5 No Dozing (8-5): Working like he’s ready to bounce back
Just Howard powered to victory in the 2017 G3 Commonwealth Derby Photo by Laurie Asseo.
Race 7 — GLASGOW STAKES
RACE PARTICULARS: Race 7 (4:49 pm EDT), $100,000 guaranteed purse for three-year-olds and up, 7 1/2 furlongs (turf)
- No Bull Addiction (20-1): Ran well first off the layoff, getting into a duel and hanging in there till late. Will be an early pace factor.
- Fact of War (15-1): Lightly-raced three-year-old will test his elders here. Turf breeding looks decent, and trainer Gary Capuano is 19% with horses on grass for the first time. It is interesting why they chose this spot for him, and not a race against his fellow three-year-olds, for his first start on this surface.
- Ballivor (20-1): Makes his first turf start in a while after many tries on the dirt. Inclined to go with horses with more experience over the surface.
- Completed Pass (12-1): Jim McKay winner returns off a seven-day layoff and stretches out around two turns. He’s never gone beyond six furlongs on his career, so it’s not known what he’ll do going a longer distance.
- Paret (10-1): Recent Australian invader showed speed and faded in the Dixie last out. Picked up some listed wins in his native country last year, but started tailing off earlier this year. Will he regain his good form second time in the country?
- Parlor (3-2): Closed sharply to just miss in the Wise Dan last out at Churchill Downs. Always packs a strong closing punch and now gets some class relief. However, the 3/2 morning line could mean that he’s not going to be a very attractive win price.
- O Dionysus (9-2): Returns off one-week layoff after a third-place finish in the Cape Henlopen. He had shown better recent form at shorter distances, and the 7 ½ furlong distance should be up his alley.
- Square Shooter (15-1): Has early speed and stretches out around two turns for the first time. The Englehart/Vargas trainer/jockey combo is very potent in Maryland, will it extend to Delaware?
- Abiding Star (10-1): Ships in from Belmont Park and looks like the controlling speed. Wired a field of open claimers two starts back, then almost held on going nine furlongs last out. If he gets an uncontested lead, he’s very dangerous.
- Celebration (12-1): He hasn’t raced at least seven furlongs in about a year, but when he did, he showed good closing speed. In his recent races around one turn, he’s been on or near the pace. Will be tough if he can put both together. However, Carol Cedeno jumps off him in favor of Abiding Star. Forest Boyce picks up the mount.
- Just Howard (5-1): Maryland-bred veteran battled well last out, only to give way late and miss by a length. He’s been close in all three of his races this year, but hasn’t been able to get the job done.
- #6 Parlor (3-2): Mmmmm… chalk!
- #9 Abiding Star (10-1): Speedy sort does best work on the engine
- #11 Just Howard (5-1): Md-bred has run three good ones this year without getting the money
- #7 O Dionysus (9-2): Right back at ya with a runner who ran a good one last week at 12 furlongs
Elate won the 2018 Delaware Handicap. Photo by Allison Janezic.
Race 8 — GRADE 2 DELAWARE HANDICAP
RACE PARTICULARS: Race 8 (5:25 pm EDT), Grade 2, $750,000 guaranteed purse for fillies and mares three-years-old and up, 1 1/4 miles
- Another Broad (10-1): Won the Top Flight at Aqueduct three back, but fell flat in her last two starts. Her figures have improved in her four-year-old season, but she still might be outclassed.
- Gotham Gala (8-1): Jogged on the lead to win the Obeah in gate-to-wire style. There’s some other speed signed on here, but it’s not impossible to imagine her getting another uncontested lead.
- Escape Clause (5-1): Turned in a dud in the Ogden Phipps, but outfinished her primary rival, Elate, in the Apple Blossom two starts ago. Worked a bullet over this track back on July 1, so one would hope whatever caused her to falter at Belmont is behind her.
- Queen Nekia (20-1): She’s had up-and-down form against allowance company and looks overmatched against these.
- Promise of Spring (12-1): It’s a similar story here: she has not been competitive against lesser, so I can’t see her doing well against better.
- Blue Prize (7-2): Ran well against Elate last out, but was ultimately outkicked by her. She proved her class plenty of times last year, winning three graded stakes with competitive figures each time. Looking for further improvement in her third start of the season. Click for more on Blue Prize.
- Elate (7-5): Seeks a repeat in this race after an easy win in it last year. Unlike last year, where she won it off a long layoff, she’s got three races under her belt this time around. Jose Ortiz comes in for the mount. Will be tough to beat, but at a low price.
- Vente to Go (20-1): Raced wide in the Obeah and was not a factor. Her one try against graded stakes horses, which came last year at Monmouth Park, was a disappointment.
- Goodonehoney (10-1): Lightly-raced filly chased Gotham Gala around last out. Gets a jockey change to Mychel Sanchez, and she’s the other dominant speed in the race. It remains to be seen if Sanchez will utilize it.
- #7 Elate (7-5): Classy Mott trainee looms large in effort to repeat
- #6 Blue Prize (7-2): Didn’t have the cleanest trip in Fleur de Lis, will try to turn tables on the favorite here
- #3 Escape Clause (5-1): Manitoba-bred loves to win
- #9 Goodonehoney (10-1): Speedy sort needs best here