Miracle tabbed as Delaware Oaks favorite

Siena Farm and WinStar Farm’s Miracle tops a field of ten entered in the $300,000 Grade III Delaware Oaks this Saturday. The mile and a sixteenth affair has been carded as the eighth race with an approximate post time of 4:00pm.

The New York-bred daughter of Mendelssohn travels well. From her seven career starts, she has only been out of the money once while racing over five different tracks.  She has a win, four seconds and a third with earnings of $229,675.

“She is training very well coming into the race,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who won the Delaware Oaks in 2006 with Adieu. “She is very consistent and she should like the track.”

She has made three starts in 2023. On February 18, she ran second in the mile and a sixteenth Grade II Rachel Alexandra at the Fair Grounds, she followed with a fifth in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks on April 1 and in her most recent, she ran second in the New York state-bred Bouwerie Stakes at Belmont Park on May 29. She will be ridden by Trevor McCarthy, who won the Delaware Oaks in 2014 with Fortune Pearl.

McCarthy, who made his name in the Mid-Atlantic, particularly in Maryland, is the son of Mike McCarthy, who also rode in the Mid-Atlantic, long a top rider in Delaware. The elder McCarthy won the Oaks twice, in 2000 and 2001, while the younger McCarthy took it in 2014.

Miracle has run in stakes company in six of her seven career starts – every one but her debut in maiden company. Though she hasn’t won a stake, she’s been second four times.

Miracle has been installed as the 3-1 morning line favorite.


The second choice, at 7-2, is Juddmonte’s Fireline. The sophomore filly by Arrogate is two-for-three in her career for trainer Chad Brown. That admittedly thin resume includes a 13-length maiden score last November and, last out, a length-and-change allowance victory at Belmont Park in which runner-up Tough Street was 10 clear of the show horse. Dylan Davis will ride.

The Elkstone Group’s Cover the Spread (12-1) and Haymarket Farm’s Cats Inthe Timber (10-1) will be representing the home team. Both are conditioned by Brittany Russell who is the current leading trainer at Delaware Park with a record of nine wins, eight seconds and six thirds from 29 starts.

Cats Inthe Timber
Cats Inthe Timber upset the Weber City Miss. Photo Jerry Dzierwinski.

The Delaware Oaks will be the first stakes test for Cover the Spread who has a career record of two wins and two thirds from four starts. In her most recent, the Maryland-bred daughter of Will Take Charge won a mile and a sixteenth allowance at Pimlico on May 14. The home-bred broke her maiden in her career debut going a mile at Laurel Park on November 24.

“We ran her the one turn mile at Laurel three times mostly because that was the only opportunity offered, but we had been dying to run her two turns,” said trainer Brittany Russell. “When we took her to Pimlico, she handled the two turns exactly the way we thought she would. She ran a really big race that day. She is a really good work horse and training filly. It might be a question for her to step up and run against a little better competition, but she has trained and raced so well, it justifies taking this shot.”

Cats Inthe Timber broke her maiden in her second career effort going six furlongs at Delaware Park. In her most recent, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Honor Code finished sixth in the Grade II Black Eyed Susan at Pimlico on May 19. Previously, she won the $125,000 Weber City Miss Stakes at Laurel Park on April 15. She has a career record of three wins, a second, and a third from seven starts with earnings of $155,400.

“Cats Inthe Timber just keeps plugging along and she does what we ask her to do,” Russell said. “She is solid. We may have thrown her to the wolves last time, but to be fair, she ran hard against a real tough bunch. I am very happy with her. She is doing extremely well. We have had this race in the back of our minds for a while because she trains and started her career at Delaware Park, so we have had this race in mind. I think we are going to take a swing and see what happens in the Oaks.”