- More stakes action at Delaware on Sunday, and by popular demand, let's take a look. The Caesar Rodney is a mile and an eighth on the turf. Fishy Advice (Woodman) returned in late May from a six month layoff, and won his second in a row, earning a lifetime best Beyer of 100. In the past, it would be a concern that he hasn’t been out since then, but campaigns such as these have become far more common of late. That race has turned out to be a very good one. Three of the runners, including second place finisher Sabre Baby, have come back to win their subsequent starts; and three others have run in the money. No Rider is named as of this evening, but assuming it’s someone halfway competent, Fishy Advice looks like the value at 10-1.
In the Todd Pletcher empire, Icy Atlantic (Stormy Atlantic) is a third stringer at best. He’s a multiple graded stakes winner, but has won only once in 16 starts since taking the G3 Lexington in 2004. That win, however, was in his last, an overnight stakes at the Meadowlands, also with a 100 Beyer.
So he’s still looking for his daytime win in two years. [EDIT - Unless he's been trying out pacing lately.] He’s always close, but seems worth taking a shot against if the price is short.
Minister’s Joy (Deputy Minister) closed from way back into quick closing fractions in an allowance race at Belmont for Shug McGaughey. Nice breeding; his 4th dam is the great grass runner and broodmare Glowing Tribute. Could be another one developing late for Shug.
- Deputy Glitters (Deputy Commander) bounced back from those three nasty looking pp lines since his win in the Tampa Bay Derby, and held off the 6-5 favorite High Cotton to take the Ohio Derby after a protracted drive. He had excuses for all three of those – the sloppy track in the Wood, his 11 wide journey in the Derby, and the Belmont distance way beyond his capability. Albertrani has always been high on this one, but I imagine we won't see him facing....what-his-name again; the Preakness winner, remember him?....in the Travers if it's up to the trainer. Flashy Bull finished third, and is still eligible for an entry-level allowance (preferably one in which he won’t face anyone as good as Minister’s Bid.)
If the Ohio Derby field is considered to be the second string of the sophomore class, the Leonard Richards at Delaware on Sunday is for second-stringer wannabees. Not that there aren’t any promising horses entered, but there’s only one stakes winner - Ah Day, who took the Tesio on a sloppy track at Pimlico.
Kiaran McLaughlin had hoped to start Like Now in this race, but he came up lame after a workout, and has been sent to the sidelines for at least 60 days with a knee chip.
Bobby Frankel sends out Latent Heat (Maria’s Mon), and he’s sure to take a lot of money, coming off a nine length win at Belmont in his first race in almost four months. But that race was on a wet track that he’s supposed to love (397 Tomlinson), and against a weak field of four. The California three-year olds have not fared well out east, and he could be worth a stand against if he’s bet down lower than his 4-1 morning line, as I suspect he will be. [EDIT: Latent Heat ran second at 1-2 in the Long Branch at Monmouth on Saturday...that's what I was talking about, but missed that opportunity!] (Same with Frankel’s other entry, Cotton King [419 Tomlinson], who comes off a maiden win on a sloppy track.
Little Cliff (Gulch) is listed as the morning line favorite, which tells you much about the race. He got back on the winning track in his last, but it was against four middling opponents in a Delaware allowance race.
Cat Criminal (Tale of the Cat) was a $400,000 two-year old purchase for the Steve Klesaris/Jeff Puglisi combo. He was 6-5 in his debut at Saratoga last summer, and suffered an injury in running 4th. Klesaris was excited about him when he returned to graduate by ten at 3-5 in May.
“We have always liked this colt....Certainly, he showed all the right tools in the morning to be a good horse. Today was just a maiden race and he still has a long way to go to prove himself, but everything he has shown us to date has really been good. ....We are kind of excited about him in just getting him back to the races.” [Delaware Park Notes]Since then, he won an allowance at 1-5, but only by a length against a mediocre field. So he’ll have to step up to compete here, but could be worth a shot at a decent price.
- If you’re looking at the Pick Three for these races and can create some value in either or both of the above, Fleet Indian (Indian Charlie) looks like a reliable single in the million dollar G2 Delaware Handicap. Of course, if Dubai Escapade can lose, anyone can. But Fleet Indian's 112 Beyer in her romp in the G3 Sixty Sails at Hawthorne just towers over this field; in fact, even just her 102 in her most recent win, a handy prep over this track in the Obeah Stakes, makes her the only recent triple-digit horse in this field. And she's trained by Pletcher too.
The only problem is that she’s winless in one attempt beyond a mile and an eighth, and will have to hang on for an extra furlong here. Her Tomlinson and dosage numbers are grim in that regard, but it would seem she can get home here on class alone – no one else in this field has won at the distance either. Pletcher told Bloodhorse: “You never know until you try, but certainly from watching her mile and an eighth races, she has always finished very well and you would think it should not be a problem..... She is training well."