Contentious group set for G3 Delaware Oaks

Call Another Play
Call Another Play romped in the Weber City Miss. Photo by Jim McCue.

A contentious field will tackle Saturday’s $300,000, Grade 3 Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park, topped by Lea Farm’s Power Squeeze, winner of the Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Oaks three lengths back. 

Six are expected to face the starter, with Mystic Lake, who ran in the Grade 2 Victory Ride July 4 at Aqueduct, likely to scratch.

Power Squeeze, a daughter of Union Rags, has a career record of four wins, a second and a third from eight starts with earnings of $412,450. In her most recent, she ran third in the Grade I Acorn Stakes at Saratoga on June 7. Previously, the Kentucky-bred trained by Jorge Delgado ran sixth in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 3.

Last year, she broke her maiden at Delaware Park, which was the first of four straight victories. She followed with a 5-length score in the $150,000 Cash Run Stakes at Gulfstream Park, a 2 ¾-length triumph in the $100,000 Suncoast at Tampa, and a length win in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks.

The last filly to break her maiden at Delaware Park and also win the Delaware Oaks was the Tim Ritchey trainee Dancing Afleet in 2013.

While certainly Power Squeeze will be a strong – and deserving – favorite, there are others here worth consideration.

Juddmonte’s Sidamara may be peaking at just the right time. A daughter of Arrogate out of the Grade 1 winner Spring in the Air, by Spring At Last, Sidamara has won two of three starts, last out winning a Churchill Downs allowance for fun on the Kentucky Oaks undercard. The one mile time in that 1 1/16-mile affair was just 0.30 seconds slower than the one-mile time in the 1 ⅛-mile Kentucky Oaks.

“She is doing quite well and developing nicely,” said Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. “We are hoping she runs well which will encourage us to consider the Alabama at Saratoga in August.”

Since the race was inaugurated in 1938, 15 of the 72 Delaware Oaks winners have followed with a victory in the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga.

Mott will be looking for his first Delaware Oaks victory, but he has had success in the Delaware Handicap Festival of Racing stakes since the festival was started in 1996. Mott has won four Delaware Handicaps, which equals the record set by Henry Clark and duplicated by Todd Pletcher; a record five Kent Stakes; and two Robert G. Dick Memorials.

R. Larry Johnson’s homebred Call Another Play has improved her Beyer speed figure in four consecutive starts, rising from a 38 in January to an 83 last out. That latter came in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico May 17 when she was a willing third, just missing second, in a race won by Gun Song.

The Audible filly flashed talent early in her two-year-old campaign before things went a bit sideways, and she was dropped into claiming company. Trainer Mike Trombetta tried her going a mile February 16, and she responded with a 4 ¼-length win. That climaxed witha sharp, 3 ½-length win in the Weber City Miss at Laurel April 20, which punched her ticket to the Black-Eyed Susan.

Jaime Rodriguez has the mount for the fifth consecutive start for a runner who is 8-1 on the morning line and will leave from post two.

The Estate of Peter Callahan and James Reiley McDonald’s Ringy Dingy will be seeking her first victory of the year after having an eventful race in her 2024 debut in the Black-Eyed Susan. Last year, she won her first career stakes at Delaware Park by capturing the White Clay Creek Stakes after breaking her maiden at Belmont at Aqueduct. She has a career record of two wins from five starts with earnings of $119,200.

“She is doing really good and coming into the Oaks great,” said trainer Danny Gargan. “In the Black-Eyed Susan, she ran a nice race considering that was her first start in some time and she did not have the best of trips. She got roughed up a little bit, but still ran a very respectable race, so we are excited to get her back and for her to have this opportunity in the Delaware Oaks. She is a nice filly and hopefully this will be the race where she gets her first graded victory. It will be tough because she is facing some nice fillies, but she likes the track, so hopefully Saturday will be her day.”