Delaware: Intriguing group set to contest Cape Henlopen
Multiple Grade 2 winner Cross Border will look to recapture his best form – and hold off Father Time – in Saturday’s $200,000 Cape Henlopen Stakes at Delaware Park. The mile-and-a-half turf affair for 3-year-olds and upward has been carded as the seventh race on an eight-race card with an approximate post time of 3:30 pm. It’s attracted an intriguing and even unusual group of contenders.
The New York-bred Cross Border, a nine-year-old English Channel ridgling, owns a dozen career victories and a bankroll in excess of $1.2 million from 51 career outings. He won back-to-back runnings of the Grade 2 Bowling Green Stakes at Saratoga in 2020 and 2021.
Since the second of those two triumphs, Cross Border has won just once on the flat, in the 2021 Prairie Bayou Stakes at Turfway Park. He detoured late last year and earlier this year for a trio of starts over jumps, winning a maiden race in his second try, before returning to the flat.
Last time out, in a Saratoga allowance/optional claimer, he was a willing third, beaten just a half-length for all of it. After a couple starts over jumps and an off-color outing in the Grade 2 Belmont Gold Cup by his veteran, trainer Mike Maker liked what he saw.
“In his last, he ran a great race,” Maker, who trains Cross Border for Three Diamonds Farm, said in a release. “If he runs back to that effort, he should be a solid contender here.”
Cross Border is 4-1 on the morning line and will have Ruben Silvera in the irons. The morning line favorite will ring a bell with a lot of racing fans. Tawny Port, listed at 5-2, won last year’s Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate. He finished seventh in Louisville, less than five lengths behind shock winner Rich Strike.
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Tawny Port subsequently earned another graded win in the Ohio Derby and overall has five wins and over $900,000 in the bank from 14 starts. Most of that, including the graded wins, came on the main track, however.
Trained by Christophe Clement for Peachtree Stable, Tawny Port will make only his third start on the grass. In his most recent outing, the 4-year-old son of Pioneerof the Nile won the $135,000 John’s Call Stakes over a firm Saratoga turf course on August 23.
Previously, he ran fifth in the 11-furlong Grade 2 $250,000 Bowling Green Stakes over a good Saratoga turf course on July 30. That event went to the seemingly ageless Channel Maker.
A $430,000 yearling, Tawny Port won the first two starts of his career before jumping into stakes company in the 2022 Grade 2 Risen Star, in which he finished fifth.
Trevor McCarthy is named to ride in a return to his home state.
Other horses in single digits include Beacon Hill and Commandeer. The former, trained by Michael Matz for Runnymoore Racing, is 7-2 on the morning line and will have top local pilot Daniel Centeno in the irons. He owns three wins from 17 career outings.
Commandeer enters off a win in a Colonial Downs allowance and has four career victories from 16 outings. Mychel Sanchez will ride for owner AJ Suited Racing Stable and trainer Jimmy Toner. Both Commandeer and Beacon Hill seek their first stakes victories.