Delaware Park Handicappers’ Notebook 2022 Vol. 18

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.

Check out our daily picks and analysis of Delaware Park racing!

Notable races and trips

September 22 – September 24

There were only three days of racing last week as Wednesday’s card was cancelled by a power outage in the stable area.

Six horses who were defeated last out at Monmouth Park won races on Thursday and Friday at Delaware. For the week horses who’d made their prior start at the Shore track were 6-for-32, so pay close attention to them over the next few weeks. During the past few seasons both Parx and Monmouth shippers have been very competitive at Delaware. That is understandable as both tracks have tougher competition.

  • Thankful for the blue-collar horse
    Bemoan racing’s lack of high-end, sticking-around stars? No, thanks. Be thankful, instead, for the blue-collar horses that are the spine of the industry.

September 22

  • Race 7: Tap Em ($13.40 to win) was one of those Monmouth shipper winners. In hindsight he was a bit of an overlay because the favorite, who was ridden by Jaime Rodriguez and trained by Jonathan Thomas, logically drew lots of attention. Both horses had comparable speed figures on the turf, and Tap Em looked like the stretch-out would help him. It was an impressive win by Tap Em considering he both contested the pace while running wide and had to hold off a closer. He also had to survive what in my mind was a questionable objection. If the race did not take too much out of him, he will be worth a long look next time out if properly spotted again.

Jockey and Trainer of the Week

Jaime Rodriguez started the week just two wins away from tying the US record of wins on nine consecutive mounts. He came up one win shy after first running his streak to eight. For the week he had nine wins from 21 mounts and 15 in-the-money finishes. He is one win away from his 100th win of the year. I try not to repeat designating Jockey of the Week honors in consecutive weeks, but he has won over 1/3 of all the races at Delaware in the last two weeks.

Trainer Michael Gorham had a big week with two wins, two 2nd place finishes and a 3rd place finish from just 7 entrants. He is currently tied for 4th place in the trainer standings with 12 wins on the year.

Handicappers’ Toolbox

Never play a horse based solely on a “tip.” If there were sure things at a track, the grandstand would be filled with millionaires. The only stock I put on “inside information” is when I can match up a horse I like with a statement directly from a sharp trainer/jockey/owner that their horse is fit and will be trying to win. Secondhand info from a “neighbor, who knows the sister of the trainer” should be discarded. Similarly public handicappers should be utilized for only one purpose. In lieu of playing their picks, review their reasons for liking a horse. That might help you spot a factor you missed in your handicapping and cause you to reassess your pick.