Battle Bling heads Obeah Stakes lineup

Michael Dubb and Gandharvi Racing Stables’ Battle Bling tops a field of six entered in the $150,000 Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park June 8. 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 on Saturday, July 9.

In her most recent, Battle Bling finished fourth in the $750,000 Grade I La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 6. Trained by Rob Atras, he 4-year-old daughter of Vancouver has made four consecutive starts in stakes company, including a win in the Ladies Stakes at Aqueduct Jan. 16.

She has a career record of three wins, six seconds, and a third from 16 starts with earnings of $285,617.

“She is doing good,” said trainer Rob Atras. “She came out of her last race in pretty good shape. We were not sure which direction we were going to go for her next race, but after her last work, we decided on the Obeah. We will certainly consider the Delaware Handicap with a good showing. She is the kind of filly who gets better the longer she goes, so if she handles the track and everything else goes good, the Del Cap is on the radar.”

Battle Bling is 3-2 on the morning line and will have Kendrick Carmouche up.

Goodwood Racing’s Flight to Shanghai will have the home field advantage. The 4-year-old daughter of Shanghai Bobby is currently stabled at Delaware Park in the barn of trainer Jane Cibelli.

Flight to Shanghai has a career record of three wins, three seconds and two thirds from 12 starts with earnings of $129,760. In her most recent outing, she earned her first career stakes placing, finishing third in the Serena’s Song at Monmouth Park May 8. She’s made two career starts at Delaware Park, winning both.

Flight to Shanghai is 5-1 on the morning line. Victor Carrasco will ride.

‘She could not be doing better,” said trainer Jane Cibelli. “She came out of the stake at Monmouth great and she has been training nicely since. Two of her three career victories have been over this track, so we are looking forward to this stake over our home track. The reason for running in the Obeah is because we do have the Delaware Handicap in our plans, but she will need a solid effort in the Obeah, for us to consider that next step.” 

BB Horses’ Miss Leslie is the 8-5 second choice on the morning line. Trained by Claudio Gonzalez, Miss Leslie won the Serena’s Song at Monmouth last out for her fifth career stakes triumph. She owns eight career wins from 20 career starts with earnings of over $475,000.

Miss Leslie won an allowance contest over the Delaware strip last October in her only start there. Angel Cruz has the mount.

Rounding out the field are Moma Tiger (8-1) for trainer Flint Stites, Hybrid Eclipse (8-1) for Brittany Russell, and Pettigo Girl for Gary Contessa.

Pettigo Girl, 12-1 on the morning line, is another hometown horse, racing out of Delaware Park for Contessa and Bell Gable Stable. She won an allowance over the strip May 28. Raul Mena is named.

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, three fillies or mares have won the race and followed with a victory in the Delaware Handicap. They were the 2006 older female champion Fleet Indian, I’m a Chatterbox, who won the race in 2016, and Miss Marissa, who won last year. Miss Marissa actually was second over the line in the Obeah but was put up via subsequent disqualification.

Two fillies have finished second in the Obeah and won the Delaware Handicap. They were Power Play in 1997 and Unbridled Belle in 2007. Three winners of the Obeah Stakes have followed by running second in the Delaware Handicap. They were Under the Rug in 2001, Your Out in 2002 and the 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace.

  • Miss Leslie won the 2020 Anne Arundel County Stakes. Photo by Jerry Dzierwinski.
  • Miss Leslie won the Weber City Miss. Photo by Allison Janezic.
  • Miss Leslie proved best in the Thirty Eight Go Go Stakes at Laurel Park. Photo Jim McCue.