Delacour has solid pair for Obeah
Fashion Faux Pas was much the best in the 2019 Light Hearted Stakes. Photo by The Racing Biz.
The 83rd season of live racing at Delaware Park is set to open this Wednesday with spectators and enhanced safety protocols, including enforced social distancing. More information on the safety protocols will be released on Monday.
The $100,000 Obeah Stakes highlights the ten race card with 119 entries.
Mark P. Grier’s Gotham Gala will be seeking a repeat victory in the race when she faces twelve rivals in the local prep for the filly and mare summer classic – the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap slated for Saturday, July 11.
Gotham Gala will be making her 2020 debut in the race named in honor of the two-time Delaware Handicap winner in 1969 and 1970 and the dam of the Hall of Fame filly Go for Wand, who was locally owned by Jane and Harry duPont’a Christiana Stable.
“She is doing really well,” said trainer Arnaud Delacour. “Last year, she needed a race to really get going, but she really looks good and I think she is ready, so I am expecting a big effort from her.”
Last year, Gotham Gala posted a 3 ¼-length victory in the Obeah Stakes before finishing fourth in the Delaware Handicap. The 5-year-old daughter of Smart Strike followed with a one mile allowance victory at Keeneland before closing her 2019 campaign with a fourth in the Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Stakes at Aqueduct on November 2. The Kentucky-bred trained by Arnaud Delacour has a career record of four wins, a second and two thirds from 12 starts with earnings of $262,290.
Delacour has also entered Denlea Park and Mark Spellman’s Fashion Faux Pas. In her only outing this year, the 4-year-old daughter of Flatter was unplaced in a mile allowance at Chruchill Downs over a sloppy course on May 16. Last year, the Kentucky-bred won the Light Hearted Stakes by 14 ½ lengths at Delaware Park and then followed with a second in the Grade III Delaware Oaks. She closed her 2019 campaign with a pair of unplaced efforts in stakes. Her career record is three wins, two seconds and a third from 11 starts with earnings of $177,817. She enters off a five-furlong move at Fair Hill on Friday that was, at 1:00 flat, the fastest of 15 at the distance.
“She is doing great,” said Delacour. “I am very happy with her. She had a really good breeze on Friday. She is ready and she likes the course at Delaware Park. I know her recent form has been so-so, but I think she is ready to redeem herself. I am expecting strong efforts from both of my girls on Wednesday.”
The filly to beat is Phoenix Thoroughbred and KatieRich Stables’ Lady Apple, a four-time Grade 3 winner. In her most recent, the four-year-old daughter of Curlin finished eighth in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park on April 18. Previously, the Kentucky-bred trained by Steven Asmussen finished fifth in the Grade 2 Azeri at Oaklawn Par on March 14. In her only other outing this year, she won the Grade 3 Houston Lady Classic at Sam Houston on January 26. Last year, she won three Grade 3 stakes – the Remington Oaks, the Iowa Oaks, and the Fantasy Stakes – and finished third in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks. She has a career record of six wins, two seconds, and a third from 14 starts with earnings of $1,001,984.
Since the Obeah Stakes was inaugurated in 1996, only the 2006 older female champion Fleet Indian and I’m a Chatterbox, who won the race in 2016, have won the race and followed with a victory in the Delaware Handicap. Two fillies have finished second in the Obeah and won the Delaware Handicap. They were Unbridled Belle in 2007 and Power Play in 1997. Three winners of the Obeah Stakes have followed by running second in the Delaware Handicap. They were 2011 Horse of the year Havre de Grace, Your Out in 2002 and Under the Rug in 2001.
Live racing will be conducted through October 17th. Racing is scheduled three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Thursdays will be added July 16th and continue through October 1st. First race daily post time is set for 1:15 p.m.
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