Repole Stable’s Micromanage, an impressive winner in his recent career debut at Saratoga, tops the $75,000 Dover Stakes at Delaware Park this Saturday. The mile-and-70-yard event for 2-year-olds has attracted a field of ten. Four colts who have placed in the Dover Stakes have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby the following year. Count Turf won the Dover in 1950; Carry Back finished second in 1960; Foolish Pleasure won in 1974 and Spectacular Bid finished second in 1978.
In his only career outing, Micromanage posted a 5-length triumph in a seven-furlong maiden at Saratoga on September 1. The Kentucky-bred son of Medaglia d’Oro conditioned by Todd Pletcher is a half brother to the multiple graded winning filly Indescriable, who won the Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland in 2009, and Elaflaak, who won a 2-year-old stake in England in 1999.
Another to watch is S.M.D. Limited’s Seventeenohsix. In his third start, the Pennsylvania-bred colt broke his maiden by three lengths going a mile and 70 yards at Delaware Park on September 19. The son of Dance With Ravens is trained by John Servis, who won the 2-year-old filly feature of the meet, the Blue Hen Stakes, last Saturday with Martha’s Moon. Seventeenohsix will be ridden by Jose Caraballo, who sports a record of 16 wins from 43 mounts aboard 2-year-olds at Delaware Park this year.
In first start around two-turns and outside the state of Florida, Fox Hill Farm’s Martha’s Moon pulled off the upset victory in the $75,000 Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware Park today.
With Javier Santiago aboard, the 2-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon notched a 1 ¾-length front running win and returned $13.00 as the third-choice in the field of six. The Kentucky-bred conditioned by John Servis cut early fractions of :47.69 for the half mile and 1:12.84 for the three-quarters mile before completing the mile and seventy yards in 1:43.93 over a fast main track.
Danalake, with Jose Caraballo, finished second a neck in front of the 4-to-5 favorite Kimono, with Jeremy Rose, in third.
In her four previous outings, Martha’s Moon posted a record of two wins from four starts all at Calder Race Course in sprints. With the Blue Hen victory, her career record is three win
Sheldon Nitenson’s Danalake, a winner of her last two, tops the $75,000 Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware Park this Saturday. Last year, the locally-based Grace Hall used the mile and seventy yard test for 2-year-old fillies as a prep for her second-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.
In her most recent, Danalake posted a 3 ¾-length score in the one mile $50,000 Our Mims Stakes at Delaware Park on August 22. Previously, the daughter of Friends Lake posted a 2-length triumph to break her maiden going five furlongs at Delaware Park on July 4. The Kentucky-bred conditioned by Todd Pletcher sports a career record of two wins and a second from three starts with earnings of $58,800.
Anthony Dutrow, who won the Blue Hen Stakes with Grace Hall last year, has entered Green Lantern Stable’s Dahteste. In her last, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Majestic Warrior broke her maiden by a head in her second career outing going a mile at Delaware Park on September 3.
“We sprinted her in her first race and she got some experience from it,” said trainer Anthony Dutrow. “Obviously, she learned a lot because when we stretched her out going two turns, in her next race, she won and she ran very professionally. It was really good to see her give that kind of effort with such limited experience. She really stepped up and ran a nice race for us, so we are very happy with her. She has trained very well for the Blue Hen. There are a lot of things that add up that makes sense for us to try her in the Blue Hen.”
Fox Hill Farm’s Martha’s Moon will be making her first start going a route. The daughter of Malibu Moon has four career starts all sprinting at Calder Race Course. Her two victories all came over sloppy tracks.
“She has got a grass pedigree and a lot of those grass horses prefer an off-track,” said trainer John Servis. “We purchased her thinking she was going to prefer going long on the grass. There really is not much around right now for her on the grass, so we thought we would try her going long in the Blue Hen Stakes. And you know if we get some rain that will not hurt either. It seems like they come out of Calder and do well every where especially in the summer time. I think it really toughens young horses up and makes them pretty hardy and they generally come north and do real well.”
Bluegrass Hall’s Optimizer posted a sizzling victory in the $200,625 Grade III Kent Stakes at Delaware Park today.
With Jon Court aboard, the 3-year-old son of English Channel won by 4 ¼-lengths and established a new track record by running the mile and an eighth on the grass in 1:47.27 over a firm going. The previous track record was 1:47.32 set by Touched by Madness in 2005.
Excaper, with Alex Solis, set early fractions of :46.99 for a half mile and 1:10.70 for the three-quarters mile before finishing second. It was another 1 ¾-lengths farther back to Two Months Rent, with Javier Santiago, in third. The 5-to-2 favorite in the field of ten, Lucky Chappy with Jeremy Rose, finished seventh.
Optimizer returned $8.40 as the second choice. The Kentucky-bred trained by D. Wayne Lukas raised his career record to three wins from 16 starts with earnings of $446,277.
Before the Kent Stakes, the last time Jon Court rode Optimizer was an eleventh place finish in the Kentucky Derby. Since then, Optimizer has made five starts.
“He broke alertly and he chose to lay up there close,” said winning rider Jon Court. “He laid up there effortlessly. I know the track has been running really good and he was able to lay up there and finish in front of them. I always felt like I fit real well with this horse. The first time I swung a leg over him, I felt privileged that Wayne (Lukas) let me ride him. I felt privileged today and I am delighted he gave me the chance again.”
Team Valor International’s Lucky Chappy will be seeking his first victory in North America when he faces 10 rivals in the $200,000 Grade III Kent Stakes at Delaware Park this Saturday. The mile-and-a-eighth turf test is for 3-year-olds.
Since breaking his maiden and following with a stakes score in Italy last year, Lucky Chappy has posted six solid efforts stateside without a victory. In his most recent, the Irish-bred conditioned by H. Graham Motion ran third in the mile-and-an-eighth Grade Saranac Stakes at Saratoga on September 2. In the Saranac, the son of High Chaparral closed from 18-lengths behind to finish 1½-lengths behind winner Unbridled Command.
“I think part of that was because of his running style and I think part of that was because he got shuffled back a little further then the jockey Alan (Garcia) wanted to be going into the last turn,” said Motion. “When he needed to be making his move, he could not. For that reason, he ended up having an awful lot to do when they turned for the stretch. I think he ran a very good race, he just ran out of room to get there.”
Previously, he finished second, beaten a length over a yielding course in the mile-and-a-quarter Grade II Virginia Derby at Colonial Downs on July 21.
Motion acknowledges that the mile-and-an-eighth distance of the Kent Stakes may be a little short for Lucky Chappy, but he is hoping to gain an advantage this Saturday.
“I think a mile-and-a-quarter is what he needs,” Motion said. “A mile-and-a-quarter or maybe even a little further, but these opportunities to run against 3-year-olds are becoming fewer and fewer. The one thing I like about this weekend is that he might get some ground that is less than firm, which I think would help his style.”
Last year, in his North American debut, he finished third, beaten 2-lengths in the Grade III Bourbon Stakes over the Keeneland turf. He followed by finishing fourth in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Turf Juvenile at Churchill Downs. He has a career record of two wins, four seconds, and two thirds from 14 starts, with earnings of $326,277.
Bluegrass Hall’s Optimizer rates as the second choice. Since dancing in every dance in the Triple Crown series early this spring, the Kentucky-bred trained by D. Wayne Lukas is one-for-three. In his most recent, the son of English Channel notched 1½-length victory in a Saratoga turf allowance on August 25. Previously, he finished fifth in the Grade II Hall of Fame Stakes, which was originally scheduled for the turf, at Saratoga on August 10. On July 14, he finished fifth in the Grade III American Derby at Arlington Park. He sports a career record of two wins, two seconds and a third from 15 starts with earnings of $308,714.
R.A. Hill Stable and Shirley K Stable’s Corinthian’s Jewel could be the colt peaking at the right time. Last year, the Kentucky-bred conditioned by George Weaver made one start and finished sixth. This year, the son of Corinthian has made three starts and he has won his last two. On July 6, he broke his maiden going a mile-and a sixteenth on the Monmouth Park turf. He followed by posting a 1¼-length score in the mile-and-an-eighth $60,000 Restoration Stakes at Monmouth Park on August 19.
“He made one start at two and we started with him again in late May,” said Weaver. “He is relatively lightly raced, but he has been improving. We were happy with his second-place finish in his debut this year. He improved again to break his maiden and he improved again to win the overnight stake at Monmouth. He has been improving this whole season and we are very happy with him. We are just hoping he takes another step forward this Saturday.”
Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard notched his 3,000th career victory at Delaware Park today. The milestone win came in the seventh race when Augustin Stable’s Fugitive Angel won a seven and a half furlong turf allowance by a neck over six rivals.
“It feels good to get the milestone victory and it was nice that happened at Delaware Park,” said trainer Jonathan Sheppard.
Sheppard notched his first career winner in a steeplechase race with Haffaday in 1966. The 71-year-old native of Ashwell, England was inducted into National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1990. He has won six Breeder Cup’s and has trained twelve Eclipse Award champions including Flatterer (1983, 1984, 1985, and 1986) and Forever Together (2008).
At Delaware Park, Sheppard has won a total 32 stakes. He recorded his first Delaware Park stake win in 1971 when Wustenchef won both the Indian River Steeplechase Handicap and the Sussex Turf Handicap.
Delaware Park and No Greater Love will salute the 50th anniversary of the Navy SEALS tomorrow. The fourth race on the live race card, with an approximate post time of 2:45 p.m., has been named in honor of the brave men of valor who served and continue to serve our country's flag in defense of the freedom we enjoy.
The owner of the winning horse will be presented a silver plate by former Navy SEAL George Wascovich, a member of SEAL Team 4 and Vietnam veteran.
After the presentation, all Navy veterans will be saluted with the playing of Anchors Aw
Alice Marcacci, the stakes coordinator at Delaware Park, passed away at South Jersey Regional Medical Center on Friday after suffering a stroke. She was 67.
Marcacci was the Delaware Park stakes coordinator for the last three seasons including the 2011 Delaware Handicap which saw Blind Luck defeat her arch-rival and eventual Horses of the Year Havre de Grace and the 2012 Delaware Handicap which saw Royal Delta notch a hard fought victory over long shot Tiz Miz Sue.
The resident of Vineland, New Jersey, also worked as a racing official in Maryland, New Jersey and Virginia. She is survived by a son and a granddaughter.
“She was an excellent racing official who took great pride in her work because she loved the sport,” said John Mooney, the Executive Director of Racing at Delaware Park. “She worked in many capacities in her career, but her expertise was really as a stakes coordinator. She knew how to talk to the trainers and owners. She was very thorough researching horses that might be available for a stakes race and went beyond the call of duty to see the participants were taken care of when they came for a stake race. She was just a fantastic lady and was well respected wherever she worked and went. She will be missed.”
Royal Delta dug-in and held-on to notch a gutsy victory over long shot Tiz Miz Sue in the Grade II Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park today. Besilu Stable’s Royal Delta, the winner of the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic last year, earned her spot in the same race this year as the filly and mare summer classic is a “Win and You’re In” Breeders’ Cup Challenge race. The Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic will be run at Santa Anita Park on November 2.
With Mike Smith aboard, Royal Delta notched a neck victory and returned $3.00 as the favorite in the field of seven. Tiz Miz Sue, a 28-to-1 shot with Joe Rocco Jr., was second 5 ¾-lengths in front of Awesome Maria, with Ramon Dominguez, in third.
Royal Delta, a Kentucky-bred conditioned by William Mott, ran the mile and a quarter in 2:03.51 over a fast main track. The 4-year-old daughter of Empire Maker improved her record to seven wins from 12 starts with earnings of $2,263,851.
Winning trainer William Mott was impressed with the victory considering everything she had to overcome.
“We had to move early, we had to carry a lot weight and she proved to be the best,” said winning trainer William Mott. “She was game in victory. She did a lot of work around the turn and early in the stretch. She made the lead a little early, but she got it done.”
He was especially impressed with the victory considering he knew the rest of the field was going to make things as difficult as they could for his filly.
“You know they are going to do that, I suppose going in,” said winning trainer William Mott. “It appeared a little extreme. I mean the horse on the lead packed us six out. Going into the turn there was room for five horses on the inside. Fortunately, our mare was good enough to overcome it. She only won because she is very special. He (Smith) had to ride a very offensive but defensive race. I think that was whole thinking when he came into the race. You know going in they are going to be looking for you and as it turned out they were. Tiz Miz Sue ran a gallant race. She ran really good, but we were just a little better today.”
Winning jockey Mike Smith was worried about Tiz Miz Sue and Royal Delta making her first start at Delaware Park.
“She was the horse that I was worried about,” Smith said of Tiz Miz Sue. “Not only is she talented, she was on her home course. She got to me, but my mare just wasn’t going to let her by. She just kept digging in. She’s extremely talented, and that’s what it takes to win a race like this. Delaware is a great, great track, but it’s demanding. It’s a good, old-fashioned kind of racetrack, and you need a horse that really takes to it. I was just lucky I was on the mare I rode.”
He knew nobody was going to do him any favors in the race.
“I was 1-5, and I’m on the horse to beat, so they’re not going to do me any favors,” Smith said of the other riders. “I had to try to figure out a way to let my horse get into a groove and get into a rhythm.”
The local horse for the course, Cresran Stable’s Tiz Miz Sue ran a gallant second but could not get past the winner. The 5-year-old daughter of Tiznow ridden by Joseph Rocco Jr. brought a Delaware Park record of four wins and two seconds from eight starts into the Delaware Handicap.
“My mare ran huge and she tried hard, but we could not get there,” said jockey Joseph Rocco Jr. “She was really, really game. The best mare in the country just beat her by a head, so you can’t take anything away from her. My horse was trying as hard as she could, and she just couldn’t get by her.”
The race did not unfold as expected for the Ramon Dominguez aboard Awesome Maria.
“The race set up a lot different then I was expecting,” said jockey Ramon Dominguez. “For one thing I was expecting Cash for Clunkers to go early. I was fine with that but I was surprised to see the winner taking the lead. It really left me with a tough decision. It just did not set up at all for us. I was happy she finished third, but the race did not set up at all the way I envisioned the race.”
Luch Racing Stable’s Global Power made every pole a winning one in the $100,000 Sussex Stakes at Delaware Park today.
The 4-year-old son of Pulpit notched a neck victory and returned $19.00 for the win. With Abel Castellano aboard, the Kentucky-bred conditioned by Thomas Amoss cut early fractions of :47.83 for the half mile and 1:11.47 for the three-quarters mile before completing the mile and a sixteenth in 1:41.62 on a firm turf course.
Slip and Drive, with Joseph Rocco Jr., finished second and it was another half length further back to Abilio, with Alan Garcia, in third. The 6-to-5 favorite in the field of seven, Utley with Alex Cintron, finished fifth.
Global Power raised his career record to five wins from 13 starts with earnings of $199,745.