Wayne Sanders and Larry Hirsch’s Gleaming posted an upset victory in the $145,500 Sweet & Sassy Stakes at Delaware today.
With Alex Cintron aboard, the 5-year-old daughter of Dehere won by 1 1/4-lengths and returned $14.60 as third choice in the field of four. The 4-to-5 favorite, Bold Affair with Abel Castellano Jr., finished second. It was a head farther back to Winning Image, with Jose Caraballo, in third.
Gleaming covered the six furlongs in 1:09.20 over a fast main track. The Sweet & Sassy is the ninth lifetime from 18 starts for the Oklahoma-bred. She has career earnings of $381,405.
Green Hills Farm’s Love and Pride notched a gate-to-wire in the $150,000 Grade III Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park today. The Obeah Stakes is the prep for the $750,000 Grade II Delaware Handicap to be run on July 21.
With Jeremy Rose aboard, the 4-year-old daughter of A.P. Indy posted a 1 3/4-length win and returned $4.20. The Kentucky-bred conditioned by Todd Pletcher cut early fractions of :47.71 for a half mile and 1.11.75 for the three-quarters mile before completing the mile and an eighth in 1:49.91 over a fast main track. The 4-to-5 favorite in the field of five, Tiz Miz Sue with Joseph Rocco Jr., finished second. It was another 9-lengths farther back to Check Point, with Abel Castellano Jr., in third.
Love and Pride increased her career record to five wins from 13 starts with earnings of $370,760.
“She was awesome,” said winning rider Jeremy Rose. “She has one heck of a cruising gear. She went kind of quick, but she had a lot left. I am not sure who is coming for the Del ‘Cap, but I think today she showed she is worthy of consideration.”
Steve Hobby, the trainer of second-place Tiz Miz Sue, still has the Delaware Handicap in his sights.
“When you’re alone on the lead, you’re tough. Especially a good horse like that,” Hobby said of the winner Love and Pride.
“We’ll see who’s coming,” Hobby said in regards to the Delaware Handicap. “That will be the plan, but we’ll see who’s coming. … Hopefully this prep will set her up for the DelCap.”
Accomplishments early in a career lead to confidence and experience, which in turn lead to more and more accomplishments.
One accomplishment that has had a long-lasting impact on the career of trainer H. Graham Motion was winning the Delaware Handicap with Power Play only four years after winning his first race as a trainer. In 1993, after working for trainers Jonathan Sheppard and Bernie Bond, the native of Cambridge, England, won his first career race with Bounding Daisy at Laurel Park. Four years later, at the age of 33, Motion won the biggest race of his career up to that point with Power Play in the Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park.
Since then, Motion has won the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom, the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf with Shared Account and the 2004 Breeders’ Cup Turf with Better Talk Now among others.
“We knew Graham when he was just ‘H’,” said a long-time Delaware Park racing fan. “The Motion in his name did not come until he became well known nationally. Around here, we always knew he could train a race horse. The last time we probably got more than a 2-to-1 price on a Motion-trained horse here was when he won the Delaware Handicap.”
Motion, who has his operation at nearby Fair Hill Training Center, will never forget the impact the Delaware Handicap had on his career.
“At the time, it was a huge win for me,” said trainer H. Graham Motion. “Obviously we were a long shot in the race, we were 25-to-1 or something, so we were definitely a long shot. I think if you look back through my career, a lot of my big wins in the big races have been at a price. When you have success with long shots in big races, you gain more confidence to do it. When we won the Breeders’ Cup, we were 27-to-1 with Better Talk Now, I think we were either 30-to-1 or 40-to-1 with Shared Account and we were 25-to-1 when we won the Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom. There is no doubt, by having success in those big races at long odds gives you the confidence to do it again and again. I watch trainers like Lukas and people like that over the years. I see them to take those shots in these races and I think when you have success, it gives you the confidence to do it.”
Motion remembers his Delaware Handicap victory very well and he also remembers how he thought he made a mistake by entering Power Play in the race.
“I remember the Delaware Handicap win with Power Play like it was yesterday,” he said. “I was with some of my original owners. As the horses went down the back stretch, I was thinking ‘why did I run this filly in this race.’ She was at the back and they were saying ‘they could not see where she was.’ I was kind of scratching my head and wondering why I put her in this race. Then all of a sudden at the quarter-pole off she went and she became one of my big early wins. I am sure that happens to people all the time, but it is an important learning experience.”
And off went career of H. Graham Motion. But come July, he is always thinking about the Delaware Handicap.
“The two big weekends that are special to us are the Preakness weekend, with all the stakes that we have had a lot of luck running in, and the Delaware Handicap weekend,” he said. “Those are two of the bigger weekends we have always been associated with and we always point for races on those weekends for sure.”
Motion has not won his second Delaware Handicap yet. But he has come close. In 2002, Your Out came within a neck of upsetting the heavy favorite Summer Colony. It is a race he would very much like to win again and again.
“Races like the Delaware Handicap are becoming fewer and far between I think,” he said. “The longer races like the Del Cap are around, the more we come to appreciate them. It is like winning the Whitney at Saratoga. Races like the Whitney and the Delaware Handicap are history making races.”
Since 1997, he has won more than 25 stakes at Delaware Park including five renewals of the Grade III Robert G. Dick Memorial, five John Rooney Memorials and the Grade II Delaware Oaks.
Flaxman Holding’s Pachattack, the winner of Grade III Doubledogdare Stakes in her only start this year, could be the favorite in the mile-and-an-eighth $150,000 Grade III Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park this Saturday. The 6-year-old mare conditioned by H. Graham Motion has been entered in the local prep for the July 21 Delaware Handicap, but her connections are keeping their options open for this weekend and beyond.
“I am planning on cross-entering her in the All Along Stakes at Colonial,” said trainer H. Graham Motion. “Whether she runs in the Obeah Stakes or not, she is still a strong possibility for the Delaware Handicap or the Robert H. Dick [mile-and-three-eighths on the grass on July 14]. It just depends on what I decide to do with her this weekend. We are fortunate in that we have a lot of options with her because she has proven she can do so much. We will take a look at everything and we will decide as we get closer to the weekend.”
Last year, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Pulpit posted a record of a win, two seconds and two thirds from seven starts. She won the Grade III Arlington Matron, she finished second in the Grade I Personal Ensign at Saratoga and in the Grade I Spinster at Keeneland, and she ran third in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic at Churchill Downs. She has a career record of six wins, five seconds and four thirds from 27 starts, with earnings of $786,893.
Motion has also entered Nancy Mazzoni’s She Be Classy in the Obeah Stakes. In her only start this year, the 5-year-old daughter of Toccet ran fourth in the mile-and-a-sixteenth $50,000 Winter Melody Stakes at Delaware Park on May 12.
“It was kind of a tough spot for her to come back in,” Motion said. “I think the mile-and-an-eighth helps her. Distance is a key for her. I think she should improve off of her first race this year for sure.”
Last year, three of her four victories were in races originally scheduled for the turf that were transferred to the main track at Delaware Park, including the John Rooney Memorial and the George Rosenberger. She has a career record of seven wins, two seconds and three thirds from 25 starts, with earnings of $206,608.
The mare to watch is Cresran Stable’s locally-based Tiz Miz Sue. The 5-year-old daughter of Tiznow has a career record on the Delaware Park main track of four wins and a second from seven starts. This year, the Kentucky-bred trained by Steve Hobby has a win, two seconds and a third from four starts, which were all at Oaklawn Park. In her most recent, she ran third in the Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap on April 13. Previously, she won the Grade III Azeri Stakes by 3-lengths on March 17. Last year, at Delaware Park, she won the $50,000 Winter Melody Stakes, and she ran second to the eventual Horse of the Year Havre de Grace in the Obeah Stakes. She has a career record of six wins, seven seconds and three thirds from 24 starts, with earnings of $464,709.
“She has been doing great Delaware Park so far this year,” said Hobby. “This year, she has grown up a little bit. She is relaxing better which gives us a lot more flexibility with her. We used to have to kind of fight her and get her covered up, but now she is a lot more professional. She has always trained and raced well over the Delaware surface, so we are hoping she continues to have success here. The Delaware Handicap is certainly in the plans, especially if she has a solid outing this Saturday.”
Another local contender to keep an eye on is Farnsworth Stables’ Suroof. The Kentucky-bred trained by Anthony Dutrow will be making her first career start against stakes company.
“She deserves a chance in this stake,” said Dutrow. “She has been impressive with her last two victories and I do not have any concerns with the distance with her.”
If the 5-year-old daughter of Empire Maker has a big effort in the Obeah Stakes, Dutrow would consider bringing her back in the Delaware Handicap, but only if she is impressive this Saturday.
“The Delaware Handicap is a pretty prestigious race that is going to attract some of the best in the country,” Dutrow said. “For us to consider that step, she would have to be very impressive in this race. Hopefully, she will prove to us she deserves that kind of chance.”
Suroof has a career record of three wins and a third from eight starts, with earnings of $95,111. In her most recent, she won a mile-and-seventy-yard allowance by two lengths at Parx. Previously, she notched a 4 ¼-length score in a one-mile Parx allowance on February 14.
The top four finishers in the Obeah automatically earn a free nomination to the Delaware Handicap.
Green Lantern Stable’s Wicked Mizz notched her first career stake victory with an impressive victory in the $75,000 Go For Wand Stakes at Delaware Park today. The Go For Wand is the prep for the $400,000 Grade II Delaware Oaks to be run on July 14.
With Jeremy Rose aboard, Wicked Mizz posted a 2 1/4-length win and returned $16.40. The 3-year-old daughter of Mizzen Mast covered the mile and seventy yards in 1:42.32 over a fast main track. Ageless, with Luis Garcia, finished second and it was another 1 ¾ lengths farther back to And Why Not, with Joseph Rocco, Jr., in third. The 3-to-1 favorite in the field of nine, Lady Cohiba with Daniel Centeno, finished seventh.
Last year, Wicked Mizz made one start and finished third in a maiden Saratoga. In her first start this year, the Florida-bred conditioned by Delaware Park regular Anthony Dutrow broke her maiden by a half length at Parx on February 20. She followed by running second beaten a nose in the $75,000 Limit Stakes at Aqueduct on March 14. She has a career record of two wins from four starts with earnings of $92,000.
Last year, both trainer Anthony Dutrow and jockey Jeremy Rose won the Go For Wand Stakes with All for Thee. All for Thee followed by running third in the Delaware Oaks against St. John’s River.
Darley Stable’s Captivating Lass tops a field of nine in the one-mile-and-70-yard $75,000 Go For Wand Stakes at Delaware Park this Saturday. The Go For Wand, named after the 1989 2-year-old filly and 1990 3-year-old filly champion locally owned by Christiana Stables, is the local prep for the mile-and-a-sixteenth $400,000 Grade II Delaware Oaks to be run on July 14.
In her most recent, Captivating Lass finished sixth in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks on March 31. Previously, the daughter of A.P. Indy ran third in the Grade II Davona Dale Stakes at Gulfstream Park on February 25. In her only other outing this year, the Kentucky-bred conditioned by Kiaran McLaughlin won the $100,000 Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct on January 7. She sports a career record of two wins and a third from five starts, with earnings of $132,600.
The second choice Helen Groves’ And Why Not. In her last, she finished ninth after being steadied and bumped in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on May 4. In her only other outing this year, the daughter of Street Cry finished unplaced in the Grade II Gulfstream Park Oaks on March 31. Last year, the Kentucky-bred conditioned by Michael Matz had a record of a win, a second and a third from four starts, including a second in the Grade II Pocahontas Stakes at Churchill Downs and a third in the Grade I Spanaway Stakes at Saratoga. She has a career record of a win, a second and a third from six starts, with earnings of $98,253.
Teneri Farms’ Thundering Emilia, a Graded Stakes winner in South America, notched her first victory in North America in the $75,125 John Rooney Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park today.
With Julian Pimentel aboard, the 6-year-old daughter of Thunder Gulch won by a length and returned $4.60 as the favorite in the field of six. The Kentucky-bred conditioned by Michael Matz covered the mile and a sixteenth over a firm turf course in 1:42.37. Martita Sangrita, with Luis Garcia, finished second. It was another length farther back to Master Shade, with Jeremy Rose, in third.
Since being shipped to North America in the early 2011, Thundering Emilia had been winless in eight starts. Her last victory was as in a seven and a half furlong turf allowance in Peru on February 7, 2010. Her career record now stands at seven wins from 28 starts with earnings of $131,296.
“We are keeping her on the turf,” said winning trainer Michael Matz. “Last year, when we first got her we ran her on the dirt her first couple starts, but she is staying on the turf now. We are not sure where we are going next with her, but the Robert G. Dick Memorial (Grade III on July 14th) is a possibility.”
Doe, who was claimed for $40,000 by owner Carmen Muccio Jr. on March 10th, notched a front running score in the $50,000 Beautiful Day Overnight Stakes at Delaware Park today.
With Malcolm Franklin aboard, the 3-year-old daughter of Forestry won by 2-lengths and returned $9.80 as the second-choice in the field of five. Mikey Likes It, the 1-to-2 favorite with Jeremy Rose, finished second. It was another 2 ¾-lengths farther back to Defy Gravity, with Wesley Ho, in third.
Doe cut early fractions of :22.21 for the quarter mile and :45.19 for the half mile before completing the six furlongs in 1:10.48 over a fast main track. In her previous race, the Kentucky-bred conditioned by Wayne Cole was claimed for $40,000 after running second in a one mile optional claiming allowance at Laurel on March 10. Last year, she ran second against the boys in the $75,000 Dover Stakes at Delaware Park. She sports a career record of five wins from 16 starts with earnings of $162,450.
Trainer H. Graham Motion, who won the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom, will be seeking his sixth John Rooney Memorial Stakes victory when he sends three fillies postward in the stake at Delaware Park this Saturday. The mile-and-a-sixteenth turf affair for fillies and mares is named after the former vice-president of racing and vice-president of finance who served Delaware Park for 44 years. The Rooney is the local prep for the Grade III Robert G. Dick Memorial to be run on July 14.
Motion has entered Nancy Mazzoni’s She Be Classy, the winner of the Rooney Memorial last year; Team Valor International’s Master Shade, a fast closing third in her most recent; and Earle I. Mack’s Clarinet, who finished eighth in the Grade III Orchid Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 31 in her most recent.
“She Be Classy is more likely to run if the race comes off the grass,” said trainer H. Graham Motion. “I would not totally rule out us running her. She did win the race last year when the race came off. This a race we have been pointing for with Master Shade. She is coming off a decent effort in the Dahlia at Pimlico. Clarinet is a filly that we have been looking to get in a black-type race. Once these fillies become a three other-than it becomes difficult finding races for them and if we can get her some black-type, it would be great for her career.”
The 48-year-old native of Cambridge, England, has won five of the last six renewals of the race. In 2006, he won the race with Fin. He followed with victories in 2007 and 2008 with Rosinka. In 2009, he won with No Use Denying. Last year, he won with She Be Classy.
She Be Classy sports a career record of seven wins, two seconds and three thirds from 27 starts, with earnings of $206,608. In her only outing this year, the 5-year-old daughter of Toccet finished fourth, beaten by seven lengths in the $50,000 Winter Melody Overnight Stakes at Delaware Park on May 12. Last year, the Kentucky-bred won four races including the John Rooney Memorial and the George Rosenberger Memorial at Delaware Park. Both races were transferred from the turf course to the main track.
Master Shade has a lifetime record of four wins and a third from nine starts, with earnings of $94,578. In her last outing, the 4-year-old daughter of Masterful rallied from far off the pace to finish third in the $50,000 Dahlia Stakes at Pimlico on April 21. In her only other outing this year, the Italian-bred finished unplaced in a mile turf allowance at Gulfstream Park on February 15. Last year, she posted a record of three wins from starts, including an allowance score on the turf at Delaware Park.
Clarinet has a career record of three wins and a second from eight starts, with earnings of $86,265. The 5-year-old daughter of Giant’s Causeway has made only three starts in the last two years. Her most recent victory came in a mile-and-a-half turf allowance at Keeneland on October 16, 2010. The Kentucky-bred broke her maiden on the Delaware Park turf on May 17, 2010.
The Grade III Robert G. Dick Memorial, to be run on July 14, is a consideration as a next start for all three.
“Yes, certainly,” said H. Graham Motion. “Clarinet looks like she is a more distance type filly, so a good effort from her would make us think those ways. The Robert G. Dick is a race I am little partial too.”
Motion has won five of the fifteen renewals of the Robert G. Dick Memorial. He won the race with Bursting Forth in 1999, with New Economy in 2002, with Alternate in 2003 and 2004, and Rosinka in 2007. Since 1997, he has won a total of 22 stakes at Delaware Park including the 1997 Delaware Handicap with Power Play and the 2000 Delaware Oaks with Sincerely..
The morning-line favorite is Guy Roxburghe’s Federation. In her latest, the 4-year-old daughter of Motivator finished fourth in the Grade III Beaugay Stakes at Belmont Park on May 5. Previously, the Great Britain-bred conditioned by Christophe Clement finished second in the Grade III Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on March 10. She sports a career record of three wins, two seconds and a third from nine starts, with earnings of $67,920.
Michael Dubb, Larry Brafman and Daniel Ryan’s Singlet tops the $50,000 Beautiful Day Overnight Stakes this Thursday at Delaware Park. The six furlong event for 3-year-old fillies has attracted a field of seven.
After finishing fourth in the one mile Grade III Comely Stakes at Aqueduct on April 7, Singlet will be cutting back to one-turn sprints where she has never been worse then second in five starts. This year, the Florida-bred conditioned by Anthony Dutrow won the $75,000 Dearly Precious Stakes on February 11 and the $75,000 Xtra Heat Stakes on January 5. Both races were at Aqueduct going six furlongs. Last year, the daughter of Real Quiet posted a record of two wins and a second from three starts. She broke her maiden going five and a half furlongs at Saratoga. She followed by finishing second in the six furlong $123,000 NATC Futurity at Monmouth. In her final start in 2011, she posted a victory in a six furlong allowance at Parx.
She sports a career record of four wins and a second from six starts with earnings of $181,644.