Delaware Park Handicappers’ Notebook 2022 Vol. 11

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

August 3 – August 6

The dirt course appeared biased against early speed throughout the week. Only three of the 18 winners led at the first call, and one of those was in a four-horse field; by contrast, several horses came from well off the pace to win. This bias was especially evident on Saturday when no first-call leaders were victorious. In addition, a number of races had slow final split times between 26 and 29 seconds, thereby making it easier for closers to gain ground.

August 4

  • Race 3: Trainer talent and intent/placement are huge handicapping factors.

Trainer Brittany Russell has upgraded her stock from year-to-year, and she regularly places her more modestly talented horses in claiming spots where they can win. Coal Mine debuted for a $16,000 tag with jockey Jevian Toledo coming up from Maryland, as the even-money favorite in this race and won easily. Look for this filly to be properly spotted next time and out and once again be competitive.

Trainer Andy Simoff is another conditioner that places horses where they can win. His entrant Race N Return showed nothing in this race despite being second choice and having the services of leading jockey Jaime Rodriguez. Look for Simoff to drop this horse down in claiming price next out.

Trainer Jose Ramirez was 0 for 33 at the meet coming into this race. Although it is not noted in the race chart, his last-place finisher Wa Wa Wee Wa was very difficult to load. She was dead on the board despite dropping from MSW company. As she did in her initial race she once again stopped badly. It appears this filly needs to compete against bottom level claimers to even have a slight chance to compete

August 6

  • Race 8: In this mile race for $5,000 claimers, Car Lady broke awkwardly and dropped well behind in last. She trailed by 18 lengths at the half and 12 lengths after three-quarters of a mile. She then closed with a rush to win. This result can be attributed to a good ride by Angel Suarez, the weak field, and the aforementioned bias favoring closers. She will be a bet-against for me next time out despite the impressive looking race line.

Jockey and Trainer of the Week

Jockey Angel Suarez had five wins in just 13 rides. For the meet he now has 26 wins and trails Carol Cedeno by two wins for second place in the jockey standings.

Only one other trainer besides Jamie Ness had multiple (2) winners last week. That was Thomas Iannotti, IV who came into the week with no winners in his first 13 starts. He was 2-for-2 last week, though, and for the meet he now has an in-the-money strike rate of 60%.

Handicappers’ Toolbox

Bell Gable Stables (Nick and Delora Beaver) were the leading owners at the meet last year with 16 wins. Since January 1 they have just nine wins in 99 races. They have finished 2nd twenty-two times and 3rd fourteen times. Nick advised me that they would like to perk up their win percentage, and you can expect to see some of their stock finding easier spots in the weeks to come.