Delaware Handicap News & Notes

Dunbar Road tops Delaware Handicap

Wilmington, Del., July 8, 2020 — Peter M. Brant’s Dunbar Road tops the 83rd renewal of the $400,000 Grade II Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park this Saturday. The filly and mare summer classic has attracted a field of eight. This is the first time the race will be run at a mile and an eighth. The race had been contested at mile and a quarter and prior to 1951 at a mile and a sixteenth.

In her only outing this year, Dunbar Road posted a 1 ¾-length victory in the mile and a sixteenth $100,000 Shawnee Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 23. Last year, the 4-year-old trained by Chad Brown won the Grade II Mother Goose at Belmont Park and the Grade I Alabama at Saratoga before running third in the Grade I Spinster at Keeneland. The daughter of Quality Road closed her 2019 campaign by finishing fifth in the Grade I Breeder’s’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita. She has career record of five wins, a second and a third from eight starts with earnings $758,040.

The morning-line odds second choice is Mathis Stable, Madaket Stables and Doheny Racing Stable’s Bellera. The 4-year-old trained by Todd Pletcher has a career record of four wins, two seconds and a third from nine starts with earnings of $275,560. In her most recent, the daughter of Bernardini finished seventh in the $100,000 Ginger Punch over the Gulfstream Park grass on June 6. Previously, she ran third in the seven furlong $100,000 Musical Romance at Gulfstream Park on May 16. In her only other outing this year, she won the mile and an eighth $100,000 Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct on January 19. Last year, she posted three wins and two seconds from six starts including a score in Grade III Comely Stakes. She has a career record of four wins, two seconds and a third from nine starts with earnings of $275,560.

“We like the mile and an eighth around two turns for her,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “She’s shown that is what she likes. We’re happy to get her back to what she’s best suited for.”

Pletcher has also entered Repole Stable’s Always Shopping. In her most recent, the 4-year-old daughter of Awesome Again finished fourth going a mile and an eighth on the grass in the Treasure Coast Stakes at Gulfstream Park on June 7. In her only other outing this year, the Kentucky-bred ran third in a one mile allowance at Gulfstream Park on April 18. Last year, she won a pair of stakes Aqueduct including the Grade II Gazelle Stakes before completing her 3-year-old campaign by running sixth in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico. She has a career record of two wins, two seconds and a third from eight starts with earnings of $261,840.

Pletcher is seeking his fifth Delaware Handicap victory, which would set the record for most wins by a trainer in the race. Pletcher won his first Delaware Handicap in 2001 with Irving’s Baby; he followed with back-to-back victories with Fleet Indian in 2006 and Unbridled Belle in 2007, and his most recent was with Life at Ten in 2010. He is currently tied with Henry Clark, who won the race in in 1958 and 1959 with Endine and in 1969 and 1970 with Obeah.

The mare who is starting to get real good at the right time is Ten Strike Racing’s Lucky Move. In her most recent, the daughter of Lookin at Lucky posted her first career stakes by notching a 1 ¼-length score in the mile and a sixteenth $100,000 Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park on June 17. Previously, the New York-bred conditioned by Juan Carlos Guerrero ran third and fourth in a pair of Aqueduct New York state-bred allowances. In her only other outing this year, she finished second to Bellera in the Ladies Handicap. She has a career record of five wins, seven seconds and four thirds from 27 starts.

“She has been getting bigger and stronger,” said trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero. “We knew she was a bit of a longshot going into the Obeah, but she looked like a million dollars and when you watched her train, she stood apart from everybody in the way she was doing it. I really liked her chances in the Obeah, but I was not expecting that big of an effort. Since the Obeah, she has been doing great. We worked her the other day and she went so easy, I was afraid she went faster than we wanted (she breezed five furlongs in :59 2/5 at Parx on July 3). But, the rider barely even asked her and she came out of it alert and bouncing. It was like she barely did anything. So, she really could not be doing any better and we are excited about Saturday.”

$400,000 Grade II Delaware Handicap

For fillies and mares 3-year-olds and up

at a mile and an eighth










Calumet Farm

Jack Sisterson

Miguel Mena




Dunbar Road

Peter Brant

Chad Brown

Irad Ortiz Jr.




Wicked Awesome

Warwick Stable

A. Ferris Allen

Horacio Karamanos





Mathis, Madaket, Doheny

Todd Pletcher

Trevor McCarthy




Always Shopping

Repole Stable

Todd Pletcher

Carol Cedeno




Lucky Move

Ten Strike Racing

Juan Carlos Guerrero

Roberto Rosado





Chad Schumer

Cipriano Contreras

Martin Garcia




Over Thinking

G. Watts Humphrey

Victoria Oliver

Jaime Rodriguez




Gentle Ruler seeks repeat score in Robert G. Dick Memorial

Wilmington, Del., July 8, 2020 — Morsches Stable Gentle Ruler will be seeking a repeat victory in the $125,000 Grade III Robert G. Dick Memorial at Delaware Park this Saturday. The mile and three-eighths turf affair for fillies and mares has attracted a field of ten.

Last year, Gentle Ruler posted 2 ¾-length in the Robert G. Dick Memorial. The Kentucky-bred followed with a fourth in the mile and a half Grade III Waya Stakes at Saratoga on August 4. She completed her season with a half-length score in the mile and five-sixteenths $500,000 Ramsey Farm Stakes at Kentucky Downs on September 12 and a 2 ½-length victory in the mile and a half Grade III Dowager Stakes at Keeneland on October 20. The 5-year-old trained by Ian Wilkes, opened her 2020 campaign with a second in the mile and three-eighths Grade III Orchid Stakes at Gulfsteam Park on March 28. In her most recent, she posted a victory by a head in a mile and three-eighths turf allowance at Churchill Downs on June 6. She has a career record of seven wins, four seconds and five thirds from 20 starts with earnings of $787,269.

Trainer H. Graham Motion will be going for his ninth career victory in the Robert G. Dick Memorial when he sends Andrew Stone’s Mrs. Sippy postward. The 5-year-old daughter of Blame will be making her first start of 2020. Last year, the Kentucky-bred ended her campaign by finishing unplaced in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita. She won the Grade II Glenn Falls at Saratoga and finished second in the Grade I Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont. She has a career record of three wins and three seconds from 12 starts with earnings of $322,706.

“We got delayed a little bit with her this year,” said trainer H. Graham Motion. “In Florida, she bumped her eye in her stall on a hinge, so we had to back off with her for several weeks and then we had the whole COVID issue, so here we are.”

Since Motion won the Delaware Handicap with Power Play in 1997, he has always made

a point of making sure he has starters in the big Delaware Park races. In addition to winning the Delaware Handicap and the Delaware Oaks two-times, the 56-year-old native of Cambridge, England, has won the Robert G. Dick Memorial eight of the 23 renewals. He has won with Guilty Twelve (2017), Real Smart (2016), Caprice (2009), Rosinka (2007), Alternate (2003 and 2004), New Economy (2002) and Bursting Forth in 1998.

“We tend to have nice fillies that fit this race, it is a local graded race and let’s face it, there are not a great deal of races like this around,” Motion said. “It is an excellent opportunity for these fillies and mares, so it is a race we always have on the radar.”

$125,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial

For fillies & mares 3-year-olds and upward

at a mile and three-eighths (Turf)









Mrs. Sippy

Andrew Stone

H. Graham Motion

Irad Oritz Jr




La Australiana

Victoria’s Ranch

Juan Carlos Avila

Angel Suarez




Saffron Spirit

MLB Equine Investments

Robin Graham

Ricardo Chiappe




Not in Jeopardy

Bolton, Obrecht, Blue

Ann Merryman

Trevor McCarthy




Gentle Ruler

Morsches Stable

Ian Wilkes

Chris Landeros




Beale Street

Amy Moore

Michael Matz

Jorge Vargas Jr




Theodora B.

Augustin Stable

Michael Dickinson

Daniel Centeno




Shifra Magician

Shook & Ashby

Lynn Ashby

Jose Angel Garcia





Matthew Schera

James Lawrence

Miguel Mena




Tightly Twisted

Fiasco Farms

Juanita Bennett

Jhonatan Mendoza




Project Whiskey lights up tote board with Delaware Oaks score

Wilmington, Del., July 4, 2020 — In her first attempt versus Graded competition and going two-turns Cash is King and LC Racing’s Project Whiskey posted an upset victory in the $300,000 Grade III Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park today.

With Frankie Pennington aboard, the daughter of Tapizar returned $79.80 as the longest shot in the field of eight. The Maryland-bred trained by Robert “Butch” Reid won by a half-length and covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:44.04 over a fast main track. Dream Marie, with Joe Bravo, finished second 1 ¼-lengths in front of Princess Cadey, with Angel Cruz, in third. The 9-to-5 favorite, Piece of My Heart with Joe Talamo, cut early fractions of :47.28 for the half-mile and 1:11.99 for the three-quarter miles before finishing fourth.

In her only other outing this year, Project Whiskey finished unplaced in a six furlong Churchill Downs allowance on May 25. Last year, she posted two victories out of five starts, including the seven furlong Parx Juvenile Filly Stakes

“I am glad we went down to Churchill to get that race in her which set her up perfectly for this,” said winning trainer Robert “Butch Reid. “I think this is what she has been waiting to do – to go a route ground. We are not sure where we are going to go next with her, but I am sure it will probably have the word “Oaks” behind it. What exactly that race is, we are going to have to sit down with the owners to figure out. I am just happy to have this ownership group. They put up with a lot of my shenanigans and they went ahead and took the opportunity to run in this race with this nice filly, so I got to give them a lot of the credit.

Winning jockey Frankie Pennington was impressed with her tenacity.

“Going into the race Butch (Robert Reid) had her unbelievable,” said winning jockey Frankie Pennington. “It was a real gutsy effort for my filly especially because it was her first time going two turns. She broke sharp and put us in a good position. When the seven (Dream Marie) came towards us just before the quarter pole, I asked her and she fought back on. The more we were staying together with seven, the more she just kept fighting and she gutted it out.”

Otter Bend Stables’ Gofu notched a record setting victory in the $125,000 Grade III Kent Stakes at Delaware Park today.

With Trevor McCarthy aboard, the 3-year-old son of Declaration of War won by a half-length and established a new track record by covering the mile and a sixteenth in 1:46.94 over a firm turf course. The previous record of 1:47.19 was set in 2016. Gofu returned $3.20 as the favorite in the field of seven. Pixelate, with Angel Suarez, finished second. It was another 2 ½-lengths farther back to Vanzzy, with Mychel Sanchez, in third. Sunsation, with Joe Bravo, cut early fractions of :47.49 for the half-mile and 1:11.31 for the three-quarter miles before finishing in fifth.

The Kent Stakes is the first Graded stakes victory for Gofu who has now won four in a row. Previously, the Kentucky-bred conditioned by Christophe Clement won the $75,000 English Channel Stakes at Gulfstream Park on May 2. He raised his career mark to four wins and a third from five starts with earnings of $177,000.

“They wanted me to have him a little bit closer to the pace today, but he just was not comfortable when we I put a little pressure on him to stay up early,” said winning jockey Trevor McCarthy, who also won the Christiana Stakes earlier on the card. “We went a little slow the first quarter but things quickened up. I felt like I was on the best horse, so I left him alone, kept him out of trouble and gave him time to get himself together. I saved a little bit of ground in the first turn and then I got him out down the backside and that is when he really started to gain his rhythm. If there was any horse who could have beaten me today, I thought it was the three, Pixielate, and I just kind of tracked him the whole way. When we turned for home, I just went outside of Pixieilate, and my horse did all of the work. He was really impressive breaking the track record and he really stormed home the last eighth of a mile.”

Capacity reduced to 1,000 patrons

Wilmington, Del., June 23, 2020 — Effective immediately, Delaware Park will reduce the attendance capacity to 1,000 total patrons, inside and outside. Only 500 patrons will be allowed access to the clubhouse and grandstand area and wristbands for admittance will be issued on a first come, first serve basis. The capacity will be reduced as a measure to better monitor the compliance of the required COVID-19 patron safety protocols.

As compliance improves, the capacity limits may be increased in the clubhouse and grandstand. There are no changes to the Grove and Picnic area.

The patron safety protocols for racing are as follows:

· Initial access to the Clubhouse/Grandstand will be limited to the Paddock entrance;

All patrons will have their temperature taken prior to being granted access to the Clubhouse:

· Temperature will be taken by thermal imaging camera or touchless, handheld thermometer;

· All patrons will be asked two health screening questions if they have any symptoms related to COVID – 19 or if there has been any close contact with a person testing positive for COVID – 19 during the previous 14 day period:

· Guests flagged by temperature reading of 99.5° or higher (as established by Delaware Health & Social Services), or flagged by the health screening questionnaire will be prohibited from entering;

· Guests demonstrating symptoms will be asked to immediately vacate the property;

· Patrons entering the Clubhouse will be given a wristband that will need to be worn at all times;

· All patrons must possess a face mask when entering the property, bandanas will not be acceptable;


· Face masks are strongly encouraged outside while properly social distancing and required when in areas that social distancing is not possible and while making wagers or ordering food and/or drinks;

· Proper social distancing will be enforced inside the Clubhouse and in the outside seating areas. Patrons will not be allowed to congregate in any areas, except those patrons from the same household;

· Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the Clubhouse and outdoor seating areas;

Live racing will continue through closing day on October 17th. Racing will be conducted on Saturday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from July 16th through October 1st. First race post time is 1:15p.

The highlight of the season is the filly and mare summer classic, the mile and a quarter Grade II Delaware Handicap on July 11th. The Grade III Delaware Oaks will be contested on July 4th.

2020 Handicapping Contests

Final Standings for February, 22 2020

FinishFirst NameLast NameFinal TotalPrize Winnings
4Dennis O'Connell$134.00

2020 Handicap Tournament Dates

Next tournament will be announced when official.

1st Place $4,275 | 2nd Place $2,140 | 3rd Place: $1,280 | 4th Place: $855

Based on 60 entries.

Win, Place & Show. Participants must wager on minimum of 10 races. $10 minimum. Participant with highest total after last race will be the winner. $150 entry and $100 bankroll. 95% of the entry fee will be awarded as prizes for each contest. Distribution will be as follows: 1st prize – 50%, 2nd prize – 25%, 3rd prize – 15% and 4th prize – 10%.

For more information contact Chris Sobocinski at 302-994-2521 ext 7383.

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