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The defending champion Elate tops the 82nd renewal of the $750,000 Grade II Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park this Saturday, July 13. The mile-and-a-quarter filly and mare summer classic has attracted a field of nine.
The 5-year-old daughter of Medaglia d'Oro has a record of a win, a second and a third from 3 starts in 2019. In her most recent the Kentucky-bred trained by William Mott notched a 1 ½-length triumph in the mile and an eighth Grade II Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs on June 15. Her other two outings this year were both going a mile and a sixteenth at Oaklawn Park where she ran second in the Grade II Azeri Stakes on March 16 and she followed by finishing third in the Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap on April 14.
Race 8 at Delaware Park on Saturday, July 13 - Post 5:25 PM
|1||Another Broad||10-1||Jorge Vargas, Jr.
|2||Gotham Gala||8-1||Daniel Centeno
|3||Escape Clause||5-1||Tyler Baze
|4||Queen Nekia||20-1||Brian Pedroza
|5||Promise of Spring||12-1||Carol Cedeno
|6||Blue Prize (ARG)||7-2||Joe Bravo
|Ignacio Correas, IV|
|8||Vente to Go||20-1||Jose Garcia
Last year, she made only two starts. She won the Delaware Handicap by 3 ¼-lengths and she followed by running second in the Grade I Personal Ensign at Saratoga. She has a career record of six wins, five seconds and two thirds from 15 starts with earnings of $1,698,775.
"She is doing very well," said William Mott. "She won the Fleur de Lis and ran a great race. She finished well, made the lead inside the eighth pole and was drawing away at the end. It was a very useful race and it seemed like the nine furlongs seemed to suit her much better than the previous two-times at a mile and a sixteenth. We are certainly looking forward to running her back in the Delaware Handicap at ten furlongs."
William Mott has won the Delaware Handicap twice with Royal Delta in 2012 and 2013. A victory by Elate would be his fourth Delaware Handicap which would equal the record for most by trainer held by Henry Clark and Todd Pletcher. Clark won the Delaware Handicap with Endine in 1958 & 1959 and Obeah in 1969 and 1970.
"I think anytime you can run in a race like this and keep winning them, it is a good thing," Mott said. "We just try to stay competitive every time we come to Delaware and it is nice to be keeping such good company."
Pletcher; who won the Delaware Handicap with Irving's Baby in 2001, Fleet Indian in 2006, Unbridled Belle in 2007, and Life At Ten in 2010; would break the record if Madaket Stables, Elayne Stables and Brian Martin's Another Broad can pull off an upset victory.
In her most recent, the 4-year-old daughter of Include finished third in the mile and an eighth $100,000 Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park on June 15. Previously, the Maryland-bred finished fourth in the Grade III Allaire duPont Distaff at Pimlico on May 17. Her last win came on April 13, when she posted a 1 ¼-length score in the mile and an eighth $200,000 Top Flight Invitational at Aqueduct. She has a career record of four wins, two seconds and a third from 11 starts with earnings of $242,095.
Merriebelle Stable's Blue Prize is the morning-line odds second choice. The Argentina-bred conditioned by Ignacio Correas IV has a career record of seven wins, eight seconds and two thirds from 19 starts with earnings of $1,162,253. In her most recent, the daughter of Pure Prize finished second to Elate in the Grade II Fleur de Lis on June 15. On May 3, she ran third in the Grade I La Troiene at Churchill Downs. Last year, she posted four wins including a Grade I score in the Spinster at Keeneland.
"She is doing very well," said trainer Ignacio Correas IV. "We have been planning on running her in the Delaware Handicap since the beginning of the year. She is tough. She does not mind travelling, she loves to race, she is very adaptable and I think she is going to love the mile and a quarter."
The third choice in the morning-line odds is Don Schnell, Barry Arnason and True North's Escape Clause. The 5-year-old daughter of Going Commando has a career record of 20 wins, four seconds and three thirds from 32 starts wth earnings of $691,500. She broke her maiden at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg in 2016.
After dominating her competition for almost two years in the northwest, the Manitoba-bred trained by Don Schnell was shipped west where she compiled a record of two wins, a second and a third from six starts while racing at Del Mar, Santa Anita and Sunland. On April 14, she proved her mettle by finishing second beaten a nose to Midnight Bisou in the mile and a sixteenth Grade I Apple Blossom Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
In her last, she finished fourth in the mile and a sixteenth Grade I Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park on June 8. Since that race, she has called Delaware Park home where she has trained in preparation for her Saturday engagement.
"In the fall of her 4-year-old season she started getting real good which was when we decided to take her to California to try some turf stakes," said trainer Don Schnell. "We tried her on the turf at Del Mar and Santa Anita and she ran very respectable. While I still believe she is better on the turf, we decided to go back to the dirt with her. Of course we went to Oaklawn for the Apple Blossom and she ran her eye balls out there and almost won getting beat by a really nice horse in Midnight Bisou. But I think all the travelling kind of caught up with her in the Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park. Between going from Canada, to Phoenix, to Minnesota, to southern California, back to Phoenix, to Hot Springs then to New York and also having to negotiate some rough roads, it was too much. If I could have done that again we probably would have flew. Although I am not sure how she flies because she can be a little a touchy to transport. At the time we thought we were doing the best thing. She is so much better now though after being at Delaware for more than a month and I think she is going to run much better this Saturday. We have shipped to more than ten different racetracks, and while she has run well at all of them, I hope being here for a month in advance will finally give us a little bit of a home field advantage. It seems like she loves the track. She has had two works at Delaware Park and she worked very well both times."
Best of Times Racing's Promise of Spring has not won since posting a 3 ¼-length victory in a mile and a sixteenth Fair Grounds allowance last year, but the 5-year-old daughter of Drosselmeyer has been knocking on the door against Graded company. In her last, she was unplaced in the Grade III Mint Julep over the Churchill Downs turf course on June 8.
Previously, the Kentucky-bred trained by Steve Margolis finished third in the mile and a sixteenth Grade III Doubledogdare at Keeneland. On February 18, she ran second in the mile and a sixteenth Grade III Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn Park. She has a career mark of three wins, four seconds and five thirds from 19 starts with earnings of $194,442.
"We decided awhile go that if she was doing well, we were going to take a shot at the Delaware Handicap," said trainer Steve Margolis. "She is a hard trying mare and we think she will like going longer on the dirt with Drosselmeyer being the sire and Mineshaft the broodmare sire. We know this is a salty race with the likes of Elate, Blue Prize and Escape Clause, but she is doing really well, so we want to take a shot and see what she can do. We are going to ship her in a few days ahead time, so she can get used to the track, but she is a pretty cool customer when it comes to dealing with different surfaces. She has done well over many different tracks and surfaces, so I feel real good about her handling the track at Delaware."
Six horses are two-time winners of the Delaware Handicap. They are Royal Delta (2012 & 2013), Nastique (1988 & 1989), Susan's Girl (1973 & 1975), Blessing Angelica (1971 & 1972), Obeah (1969 & 1970) and Endine (1958 & 1959).
The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will host a Cross Country Pick 5 on Saturday, July 13, featuring racing from historic Saratoga Race Course as well as Delaware Park in Wilmington, Delaware.
The sequence will begin at Delaware with the $100,000 Glasgow for 3-year-olds and up going 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Carded as Race 7 with a post time of 4:49 p.m. Eastern, the 11-horse field features the Graham Motion-trained Just Howard, making his first start since finishing third in the Prince George's County at Laurel Park on June 16.
Also entered is Paret, for trainer James Lawrence, and Square Shooter, who will be making his first start since a fourth-place finish in the Pennsylvania Governor's Cup at Penn National on June 1.
The next leg is the Grade 2, $750,000 Delaware Handicap, featuring multiple graded stakes-winner Elate, who will make her first start since capturing the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap on June 15 at Churchill Downs. Among those looking to upset the race include multiple graded stakes-winner Blue Prize, as well as the Todd Pletcher-trained Another Broad and graded stakes-winner Escape Clause.
The action then shifts to Saratoga for the closing three legs, starting with the first Grade 1 event of the Saratoga meet, the $500,000 Diana for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up at 1 1/8 miles on the Spa's inner turf.
Trainer Chad Brown entered four formidable contenders, including multiple graded stakes-winner Sistercharlie. Owned by Peter Brant, Sistercharlie will be making her first start of the year since winning the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf and Churchill Downs in the fall. Her stablemate, Homerique, enters off a pair of graded stakes wins in her last two starts, capturing the Grade 2 New York and Grade 3 Beaugay at Belmont Park. Brown's contingent also includes e Five Racing Thoroughbred's multiple graded stakes-winner Rushing Fall making her first start since winning the Grade 1 Longines Just a Game on June 8 at Belmont, and graded stakes-placed Thais.
The penultimate leg of the sequence is a second-level allowance race for 3-year-olds and upward carded at Race 10 at 6:21 p.m. The nine-horse field includes graded stakes-placed Market King. Trained by Hall of Famer D. Wayne Lukas, Market King will make his third start since finishing 12th in the Preakness. Also challenging will be 4-year-old Payne, trained by Brown, and Quick Entry, for owner Marylou Whitney Stables and trainer Ian Wilkes.
Rounding out the Cross Country Pick 5 is Saratoga's 11th-race finale at 6:55 p.m., showcasing a 14-field in a claiming race at one mile on the inner turf. Featuring five main-track only entrants, the salty field includes veterans such as 8-year-old Sycamore Lane. for Hall of Fame conditioner Bill Mott. Derby Champagne, for trainer Rusty Arnold and Shalako, for trainer Michelle Nevin, bolster the field.
Saratoga - Delaware Park Cross Country Pick 5
Leg A: Delaware Park - $100,000 Glasgow (Race 7, 4:49 p.m.)
Leg B: Delaware Park - Grade 2, $750,000 Delaware Handicap (Race 8 (5:25 p.m.)
Leg C: Saratoga - Grade 1, $500,000 Diana (Race 9, 5:46 p.m.)
Leg D: Saratoga - (Race 10, 6:21 p.m.)
Leg E: Saratoga - (Race 11, 6:55 p.m.)
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