Elate was much the best in the 2019 Delaware Handicap. Photo by Allison Janezic.

Delaware Park has an 8-race card on tap for this Thursday. Post time for the opener is 1:00 p.m., and we’ve got Delaware Park picks.

How’d we do last time at Delaware Park?

Race 14, 5, 7The horse who might offer value here is #7 Blue Suede Guitar (6-1). The Star Guitar mare absolutely throttled bottom claimers last time out, and while we’re not sold on the quality of that field, she did it like a better horse should. This runner has generally seen better quality, typically running in allowance and even occasional restricted stake company, and her performance last time seems to suggest she’s just fine and didn’t need to hit the bottom to find beatable rivals. She can move forward today… The Ham Smith-trained #4 Sweet Home Dixie (7-2) arrives riding a five-race win streak. Sweet Home Dixie – the horse who gave Smith his 2,000th training victory – also hasn’t raced in eight months, and Smith has a 4-for-62 ledger bringing horses back off such layoffs. If she’s fit, she certainly contends with these… #5 Charity Stripe (5-2) easily bested similar last time out and has won three of four — but tries two turns for the first time in over a year today…
Race 21, 7, 9The likely winner in this claiming turf sprint comes from the outer third of the starting gate. #7 R U Happy Now (8-1) couldn’t have run much worse last time, but that was on a sloppy, sealed main track. But she owns four wins on the lawn, and when last seen turfing, two back, she was a good second in a two-other-than at Penn National. She finished almost two ahead of Unaquoi, who came back to win a $25k claimer on the Delaware lawn. You’ll want decent value, though: the jockey is 0-for-the year, as is the trainer… Last time on the grass, #9 Olive Kat (5-2) was beaten a length in a Laurel allowance, and in her prior turf try, she caught a field with Introduced, who’s now a two-time stakes winner. She’s maintained good form on dirt, and back on turf with a modest field, she more than fits here… It’ll be first time on turf for #1 Princess Livia (6-1), who’s dropping out of allowance company. There’s not a ton of reason to think she’ll take to the turf — her dam was 0-for-10 on the lawn, and sire Drill doesn’t get many turfers — but she’s a fit with these if she does…
WAGERING…Might be a bit leery of a double with these, since there’s certainly a decent chance of short-priced runners getting the money. The best value play here is R U Happy Now, and while we’d be surprised at getting the morning line, there’s hope for value since that dismal last race darkens her form a bit.