BIG FIELD SET TO CONTEST OBEAH STAKES
WinStar Stablemates Racing’s Crystal Ball will be seeking her first career stakes victory when she faces a potential thireteen rivals in the $100,000 Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park this Wednesday. The mile and a sixteenth affair is the local prep for the filly and mare summer classic – the mile-and-a-quarter Grade II Delaware Handicap to be run on Saturday, July 10.
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Last year, the 4-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon finished second beaten a head in the mile and an eighth Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks at Saratoga. This year, the Kentucky-bred conditioned by Rodolphe Brisset is unbeaten in two starts. In her season debut, she notched a 1-length score in a one mile allowance at Santa Anita on April 2 and she followed with a 1 1/2-length triumph in a mile and a sixteenth allowance at Churchill Downs on May 8. She has a career record of three wins, a second and a third from six starts with earnings of $223,608.
A solid effort in the Obeah Stakes could punch her Delaware Handicap ticket.
“She is doing really good and we are really happy with her,” said trainer Rodolphe Brisset. “She has had two nice victories and has worked nicely since, so we are extremely pleased with her. She is Grade I stakes-placed, but we would like to get her a stakes victory to increase her value broodmare for the future. From there, we would love to have some fun, so let’s see how she does. We all know a new surface like Delaware Park can be a little tricky, but if she handles the track and runs well, the Delaware Handicap is certainly a possibility.”
The 7-to-2 morning-line favorite in the race, Queen Nekia, has been cross-entered in another stake and will likely scratch from the Obeah Stakes.
The race is 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’s Christiana Stable. Horses finishing first, second, third or fourth in the Obeah Stakes will automatically earn a free nomination to the Delaware Handicap.
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.