Miss Marissa
Miss Marissa proved best in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap. Photo by Allison Janezic.

Correspondent Mike Valiante shares his weekly Delaware Park Handicappers’ Notebook, featuring horses to watch, bet-backs, and more.

Each week he’ll give you the skinny on how the races are unfolding, which horses overcame the bias (or profited from it), and who had troubled trips. Plus, he’ll provide trainer and jockey of the week picks, and much more.

Notable races and trips


  • Race 5: From the Dept. of Bad Beats, meet Bohemian Dancer. The Jeremy Gillam trainee, off at 89-1, led every step of the way except the last one, when 9-5 Holly’s Lady pipped her at the wire in a grassy maiden event. Looks like turf might be her bag.
  • Race 6: The main track continued to favor horses running from off the pace, which made the effort of Inspector Frost more impressive. The Lacey Gaudet trainee led this lifetime claiming event throughout, posting fast fractions for the distance, and hung in gamely before succumbing to 1-5 favorite Plamen, losing by a head. It was 13 lengths back to the rest.


  • Race 6: Just a shoutout to 10-year-old Monkey’s Medal. The Mike Gorham trainee rallied to win by a head for his 12th career victory in 101 starts.
  • Race 7: Cannon’s Roar, beaten favorite in the Sussex Stakes, was not asked for his best until late and just failed to reel in the leader, beaten a nose for all the money.


  • Race 5: G3 Robert Dick Memorial Stakes winner Dalika did all the heavy lifting in this contest, fighting for the lead with Candy Flower through legitimate fractions, dispatching that rival, and holding safe the late run of Luck Money.
  • Race 9: In a paceless renewal of the G2 Delaware Handicap in which the top two finishers were one-two at every point of call, Queen Nekia rallied nicely from the rear to earn show dough while finishing two clear of the rest. She was the only horse to make up ground on the leaders in the latter stages.

Jockey and Trainer of the Week

Jockey Angel Suarez won with four of 14 starters on the week, highlighted by his score aboard Trifor Gold in the Sussex Stakes, with an average win payoff of $9.80. Suarez has nine wins at the meet.

Trainer Amber Cobb was 2-for-6 during the week — no trainer had more wins — with an average winning payoff of $15.00. Cobb is 3-for-20 at the meet but 2-for-4 on the turf.

Handicappers’ Toolbox

Keep an eye out on changes in the jockey colony once Colonial Downs July 19. It’s likely that some of the Maryland jockeys, as well as Mychel Sanchez, may ride regularly down there. If so, and if Jaime Rodriguez, Carol Cedeno, and Angel Suarez, among others, continue their loyalty to Delaware Park, their agents are going to be heading for the bank so often they may have to hire personal valets to make deposits for them.