Delaware Park Handicappers’ Notebook 2022 Vol. 10

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

July 27 – July 30

The recent heatwave and relative dry conditions have combined to wear on the turf course. A few years ago I asked longtime Delaware Park paddock host Rich Glazier, a noted expert on turf racing, how he factored extremely firm turf courses into his handicapping. He told me that he classified this type of turf course as “dirf.” That coined term was his way of saying that the course might play a little differently than its’ usual pattern. Following his advice, I recommend lessening the units you play on the turf races until the heatwave breaks and we get some rain. Last week only two of eight turf winners led at the first call, a notable difference from what had been occurring earlier in the meet. Three of the winners had not exhibited a previous strong turf performance. Although this is a small sample size, it is indicative of why Rich was advising caution when playing extremely hard turf courses.

July 27

  • Race 4: Trainer Cal Lynch has debuted a number of good looking first-time starters over the last two seasons at Delaware. Add Cold Feet to that list. The two year old colt by Frosted won impressively at 3 to 1 for Runnymore Racing. Look for this one to eventually stretch out and campaign against tougher in Maryland and at Parx. In his barn is another promising horse, Recruiter, who has been working out at Fair Hill in preparation for running, most likely at Delaware.

[Click to see Cold Feet featured in this week’s Midlantic Racing Minute video!]

July 28 and July 30

  • Race 5 (July 28) and Race 1 (July 30): Last year we highlighted Purrs Well as being a classic horse who can never seem to get up to win. These habitual “hangers” are useful to utilize as trifecta key singles in the place and show positions. On Saturday he finished third once again; though winless in his career, he has finished second or third 10 times. Another example of this type of horse is Three Coins. The 5-year-old mare has been running at higher maiden levels than Purrs Well, mainly on the turf. She finished third on the Thursday card as part of a trifecta that paid over $400. For her life she has finished second 11 times and third four times in 25 starts. On opening day she placed at 52-1 in a race where the winner paid $5.20. The trifecta came back paying $287.

Jockey and Trainer of the Week

Jockey Grant Whitacre won with both of his mounts this week. For the season he has won with six of his 11 mounts at Delaware. With a win percentage of 55%, it appears the jock is only making the drive up from Maryland when he has very live mounts.

Trainer Jamie Ness had three wins and eight in-the-money finishers from just 10 starters. His win rate and strike rate for the week just about mirror his percentages for the meet (29% win rate, 68% in-the-money). Even If he started no more horses the rest of the meet, there are only one or two trainers who would have a chance to exceed his current totals of 28 wins and 65 in-the-money finishes.

  • HISA drug rules take effect
    A flurry of dueling press releases heralded the onset Monday of the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority’s (HISA) new drug rules.

Handicappers’ Toolbox

Historically during Parx Racing’s annual August break, trainers will ship to Delaware. The day-to-day racing there is tougher than Delaware, and any horse shipping in during this period from Parx should be carefully reviewed for consideration.