DELAWARE OAKS DAY IN FOCUS

It’s the first of two successive weekends of big races at Delaware Park. Next week we’ll see the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap, but first the appetizer: the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks, supported by the Grade 3 Kent and two other stakes.

Here, Frank Vespe and Joe Parisi share their thoughts. For more from Joe on the entire card, click here.

Don’t forget to play our free handicapping contest featuring Delaware Park today!

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  • Winning Time scores in PA Nursery
    Debut winner Winning Time handled the step up to stakes company with aplomb, winning Tuesday’s $200,000 Pennsylvania Nursery Stakes at Parx.

RACE 5: $75,000 CHRISTIANA STAKES

  • 3YO fillies, 1 1/16 miles on the turf
  • With no stakes winners in the field, you’re looking to find a runner on the way up. The most accomplished runners here include #4 Mia Martina (2-1), recently fourth in the Hilltop Stakes, and #6 Caldee (3-1), second in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo last October. Meanwhile, runners like #1 Be Up (8-1), #8 Triple Digit (12-1), and #9 Out of Sorts (5-1) all enter off last-out turf wins.
    • Of Note: Be Up fired home in just over 36 seconds flat for the final three-eighths in her 11-furlong debut victory… None of seven to run back from Mia Martina’s Hilltop has won next out, and only one finished in the top three… The runner-up from Caldee’s last-out win returned to be third in a stake at BEL… One of two from Out of Sorts’s win to run back won next albeit versus lesser.
How Joe sees itHow Frank sees it
Win#6 Caldee#6 Caldee
Place#4 Mia Martina#1 Be Up
Show#9 Out of Sorts#9 Out of Sorts

RACE 6: $50,000 ALOPACAS RUN STAKES

  • 3YO and up, 6 furlongs
  • Some veteran runners square off in this contest, with six of them having earnings in excess of $250,000. For good measure, several of them are proven over the strip, including #2 Always Sunshine (in the money in all four local starts), #4 Golden Candy (five local wins), and #10 Whereshetoldmetogo (first or second in all five local starts).
    • Of Note: For a six-furlong dash with some accomplished sprinters, there’s not a lot of front-end speed. Might that play to the strength of 9yo Always Sunshine (3-1)? Golden Candy (7-2) has won two straight, with the runner-up in each returning to score next out; he earned his only stakes win to date over the strip in the 2019 First State Dash… We’ll draw a line through that last for #6 Sibelius (12-1), since it was a mile and on the slop; his maiden score came at Keeneland and has produced two next-out winners…
How Joe sees itHow Frank sees it
Win#10 Whereshetoldmetogo#3 Always Sunshine
Place#4 Golden Candy#10 Whereshetoldmetogo
Show#3 Always Sunshine#4 Golden Candy

RACE 7: GRADE 3, $150,000 KENT STAKES

  • 3YO, 1 1/8 miles on the turf
  1. Gershwin (8-1): This Mike Stidham trainee has made three of her five starts, including win in Penn Oaks, in races taken off the turf… Dam never tried the turf, sibs are 0-for-5 on it, and sire does better with main-track horses… Should be a major player if this comes off the turf, less clear if it stays on…
  2. Yes This Time (7-2): Closed nicely into modest pace last out to win minor stake at Gulfstream, and two of three beaten rivals to return on turf won next out… Has won five of six on the lawn, including four straight… Has shown ability to lead, stalk, or close, and last out closed into a tepid pace after wide journey… A major player on best…
  3. Shackled Love (8-1, MTO): Will need to recapture form that saw him post 21-1 upset in the Private Terms back in March; recent form not promising…
  4. Be Here (8-1): Winner in last simply ran them off their feet from the jump, with this one closing for the place while never a threat… Has been gelded and will need to step forward to contend on either surface…
  5. Like the King (8-5): There’s a pretty good chance this Wesley Ward trainee will be favored on either turf or dirt… Won G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks in March on synthetic, following that with a 12th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby… Has a win from two starts on turf… Emptied out a bit in final furlong last time when fifth in a stake at Churchill…
  6. Eamonn (5-1): Improving sort saw modest two-race win streak snapped when second a nose last out after a lengthy battle; the horse who beat him, King of Dreams, had just run second to Yes This Time in a stake… Mike Smith in the irons a plus… If you like Yes This Time, you’ll have to give this one a long look…
  7. Wootton Asset (6-1): Will get Lasix on for the first time in his first start of the season… It’s no easy task to bring a horse back off a layoff going a route of ground, but trainer Graham Motion wins at a 23% clip doing it… Will need to return running…
  8. Vikram (6-1, MTO): Won at first asking in an off-the-turf race, but 55 Beyer fig doesn’t inspire confidence, and rider from debut Rodriguez jumps ship…
  9. Doubleoseven (12-1): Trainer O’Dwyer hoping for rain to take this off the lawn, but there’s enough grass in his pedigree to suggest he might take to it… Two back third in the Gold Fever better than it looks behind ultra-sharp Beren and graded winner Candy Man Rocket… Solid effort win first allowance in last, and he and nearest rival were well ahead of the rest…
How Joe sees itHow Frank sees it
Win#5 Like the King#6 Eamonn
Place#2 Yes This Time#2 Yes This Time
Show#7 Wootton Asset#7 Wootton Asset

RACE 8: GRADE 3, $300,000 DELAWARE OAKS

  • 3YO fillies, 1 1/16 miles
  1. Orbs Baby Girl (15-1): Cross-entered in the Christiana as an MTO earlier in the card, and you have to think that’s where trainer Anthony Margotta will go If he gets the chance… Solid front-running score last out in the off-the-turf Penn Oaks, though defeating only three rivals. Makes her third start after a three-month break and may try to control up front…
  2. Exogen (15-1): Still eligible for a first-level allowance and will need a career-best effort here…
  3. Midnight Obsession (4-1): Ran too well to lose against older last out in the PA-bred Lyphard: she was a near-miss second while 19 lengths ahead of the rest… That was first defeat in three starts for the Servis trainee, one of two he has in here… Attracts veteran Joe Bravo in the irons, which has to be a plus…
  4. Juror Number Four (6-1): This improving Brittany Russell trainee was a good fourth at long odds last out in G3 Miss Preakness; two of five to run back won their follow-ups, including next-out stakes winner Street Lute, who was sixth… This’ll be her first time around two turns, though her breeding – Into Mischief out of a Malibu Moon mare – suggests two turns shouldn’t be an issue…
  5. Hybrid Eclipse (10-1): The Linda Rice trainee also is cross-entered in the Christiana, and you imagine she’ll lean that way if it comes off the grass… Good effort to win a Parx allowance in last but only prior stakes try was pretty dismal…
  6. Leader of the Band (8-1): Improving Servis trainee ran a big one last out when overcoming a sluggish start to win going away… Has not raced since May 3 but is showing a nice-looking work tab in the interim… Frankie Pennington, who rode her last out, comes in for the mount…
  7. Crazy Beautiful (6-5): Yes, that is Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith traveling across the continent to keep the mount on this Kenny McPeek trainee, who won nicely last out in the G2 Summertime Oaks, albeit against only three rivals… As McPeek is wont to do, this one’s danced every dance, having started basically once a month since kicking off her season in February… Gets Lasix on for the first time, and the only real question is whether the jet-setting –  this’ll be the fourth track in her last four starts, with prior stops in Florida, Kentucky, and California – will catch up to her… Definitely the one to beat…
  8. She a Hot Mess (12-1): The only runner here with a win over the strip, she won a local allowance June 16… There’s certainly nothing wrong with her record to date, but we’ll need to see more from her to make her a contender with these…
  9. Baby Gundin (15-1): Looks like a tough spot for this bargain Oxbow filly… She was a well-beaten second in a local allowance versus older last time…
How Joe sees itHow Frank sees it
Win#7 Crazy Beautiful#7 Crazy Beautiful
Place#4 Juror Number Four#3 Midnight Obsession
Show#3 Midnight Obsession#1 Orbs Baby Girl

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