Delaware Park Handicappers’ Notebook 2022 Vol. 17

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

September 14 – September 17

The turf course played fair all week although two races were taken off the turf on Wednesday because the course was too soft. As it starts to firm up because of our current dry spell, expect it to start favoring speed again. The dirt course continued to largely favor horses that set or contested the pace all week.

See the Jockey of the Week section below for information on a possible historical day for jockey Jaime Rodriguez on Wednesday, September 21.

September 14

  • Race 1: Two-year-old Wyeth’s Way showed little at the maiden claiming 25K level, so it was a little surprising that the horse was entered in this maiden special weight second time out. The fact that she is trained by Michael Matz and is by Union Rags out of a Tapit mare might explain why the connections were still trying to find out what they have. I think they now know. The horse was cold on the board and never showed any energy despite being piloted by Jaime Rodriguez. A class drop is needed to compete

September 15

  • Race 4: First-time starter Dizzy Kitty broke well, dropped back and then closed willingly to finish a distant second to the chalk in this dirt sprint. His more preferable distance and surface should be going longer on turf.

September 17

  • Race 3: This maiden claiming turf race came up extremely weak. The winner Animal Princess showed little on the turf first time out despite some turf breeding, particularly on the sire side (Animal Kingdom). The second place horse was 0-for-25 and went off at odds of over 40-1. The 3rd place horse went off at odds of over 32-1 and her highest previous Beyer speed figure was an 8. Play against horses coming out of this race.

Jockey and Trainer of the Week

Jockey Jaime Rodriguez continues to set an unbelievable pace. He had 10 wins last week in just 21 mounts. He finished in the money with 17 of those mounts. That included four wins on both the Friday and Saturday card. Going into this week’s first card, he has won on seven consecutive mounts. The US record for wins on consecutive mounts is nine. It was last achieved by Travis Dunkelberger in 2011.

Trainer John Rigattieri is a name familiar to Delaware Park bettors. He does not handle the number of horses he once did, but he still can train as he exhibited by winning five races with just six entrants last week.

Handicappers’ Toolbox

To improve your ROI:

  • Avoid jackpot wagers on non-mandatory payoff days.
  • Be aware of lower takeout opportunities.
  • You should skip more races than you bet.
  • Play circuits that you are familiar with.
  • Remember horses are not machines and there is never a “sure thing”.