Delaware Park Handicappers’ Notebook 2022 Vol. 21

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

October 12 – October 15

Turf racing has concluded for the year. For the second year in a row, the course largely favored early speed. something to keep in mind when the grass races commence in the spring.

For the third week in a row the dirt course played very fairly after largely favoring speed all through the year.

  • 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.

October 12

Race 7: The last turf race of the year, a maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles, featured an impressive list of trainers. A Graham Motion trainee, Palotta Sisters, was the ultimate winner at short odds with Victor Carrasco coming in from Maryland to ride. John Servis, Jane Cibelli, Michael Stidham, Arnaud Delacour, Michael Matz, Kelly Rubley and Christophe Clement also entered horses in this field. Look for a number of these 2-year-old fillies to improve next time out and to be competitive in other maiden special fields around the Mid-Atlantic. When/if these horses are entered for a tag, watch out.

October 13

Race 4: Circle Dissolute as a horse to watch. She won impressively first time out in a maiden special weight against the boys for trainer Cal Lynch and jockey Mychel Sanchez. Owned by Runnymoore Racing, she is by Union Rags and out of a Distorted Humor mare, so additional distance should not be an issue.

Jockey and Trainer of the Week

Jockey Mychel Sanchez had a big week with seven wins on 18 mounts. For the year he has 51 wins and holds a slight lead for 2nd place in the jockey standings. He had two particular heads-up rides on Friday when he won with Liscolvin by taking advantage of being on the horse with dominant early speed and with closer Flat Out Flying when he wisely tracked the blistering pace.

Trainer Michael Gorham had three wins, two seconds and one third-place finish with nine entrants. For the meet he is currently in fourth with 16 wins. Jamie Ness and Cal Lynch have sewn up the first and second spots in the standings, respectively, but the remaining spots are up for grabs in a very contentious race.

Handicappers’ Toolbox

For those of you who put emphasis on jockeys when handicapping, here are the likely winter locations for some of the top Delaware Park jockeys: Jaime Rodriguez (mid-Atlantic). Mychel Sanchez (Parx). Carol Cedeno (mid-Atlantic). Angel Suarez (Tampa). Daniel Centeno (Tampa). John Hiraldo (Oaklawn). Aubrie Green (Tampa).

Some interesting trainer stats for the meet to date: Trainers Lynn Ashby, Gary Contessa, Gary Capuano and Michael Gorham are a combined 2 for 43 with two year-olds. Ten of John Robb’s eleven winners are in sprints. Favorites sent out by Baltazar Galvan and John Rigattieri are a combined 10-of-13 (76.9%). Michael Gorham has won with 16% of his dirt starters but is 2 for 32 on the grass. Christophe Clement, Jonathan Thomas and Mark Beecher are a combined 14-for-25 (56%) on the turf.