Archives for September 14, 2018

Delta Prince the One to Beat at Woodbine?

Wager on WoodbineDelta Prince enjoyed the finest hour of his career here at Woodbine this June, winning the Grade 2 King Edward over the Ricoh Woodbine Mile course and distance.

Now the up and coming five-year-old trained by James Jerkens will be looking for a new crowning achievement in the Grade 1, $800,000 Ricoh Woodbine Mile on Saturday.

“He’s a lengthy kind of horse,” said Jerkens, who believes the sweeping turn on the E.P. Taylor course is a good fit for his budding star. “He’s not short coupled, light on his feet.”

Delta Prince has a kingly pedigree as a half-brother to Royal Delta, winner of two Breeders’ Cup Distaffs and three straight Eclipse Awards for her division. His dam also produced Crown Queen, victorious in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Keeneland’s turf course.

“Since he’s come back, so far, he’s the best he’s ever been for a long time.”

So, it is no surprise that Delta Prince is not only talented but has developed into a top-notch turf performer after beginning his career with two decent efforts on the main track. But after displaying steady improvement through 2017, Delta Prince wound up on the sidelines.

Unraced as a juvenile, Delta Prince joined the Jerkens barn at Palm Meadows as a three-year-old and began his career late that year, making his first two starts on the dirt in New York.

“The first time he ran real green,” said Jerkens. “Then, in the mile race he ran well, but he was hitting his pasterns real bad. So I thought I’d try him on turf, and he wouldn’t hit his pasterns. The first time he ran on turf, he ran off the screen. I’ve kept him on turf ever since.”

Delta Prince continued his upswing on the grass but went to the sidelines in early September after finishing a good third in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Saratoga.

“He had some little nagging things that just got the better of him,” said Jerkens. “We were keeping him going but we didn’t want to risk serious injury. He just needed lots of time.”

That prescription appears to have paid off in spades as Delta Prince, making his first start in almost 10 months, returned victorious in the King Edward.

In his lone start since then, Delta Prince wound up farther off the pace than planned and could not run down a loose-on-the lead Voodoo Song in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Fourstardave over one mile of “good” turf.

“I thought he ran very well,” said Jerkens. “The course was a lot softer than he likes and he broke real flat-footed or he wouldn’t have been that far out of it. He had to make a big, long run and that’s hard on soft turf.

“Since he’s come back, so far, he’s the best he’s ever been for a long time.”

2018 Del Mar Summer Meet Surges

Horse Racing is Alive and Well in So. California

All sources handle in 2018 rose 6.8 percent to $13.44 million per day as Del Mar completed a highly successful summer season – its 79th – on Labor Day Monday. The wagering increase follows a 5.1 percent gain in all-sources handle in 2017, which averaged $12.58 million. The strength of the 2018 summer racing program and the increase in field size helped drive a 10.8 percent increase in wagering by out-of-state patrons and a 14.1 percent increase in betting by California ADW customers.

Drew Brees at Del Mar

Drew Brees at Del Mar

“Across the board, we’ve hit all our marks with a wonderful display of teamwork in a group effort,” said DMTC CEO Joe Harper. “Our owners, our trainers, our jockeys – everyone is pulling their oars in the same direction. It is amazing what positive things can happen when we all get on the same page to put on a first-rate show. The bar was set very high in 2017, but here we’ve gone and jumped far over it in a very gratifying summer.

Field size, which averaged 8.7 runners per race, rose again over the seven-week season, just as it had the year before. Del Mar’s highly successful “Ship & Win” program drew 105 new runners to the track from out-of-state. Since its inception in 2011, the “S & W” plan has lured more than 1,200 runners to Del Mar.

“The response from our horsemen and horsewomen to our program at Del Mar has been just terrific,” said executive vice president for racing Tom Robbins. “We have a wonderful partnership going right now and we’ll continue to work to make it even better.

“And our track crews – headed by Leif Dickinson on our turf course and Dennis Moore on our main track – have been nothing short of exceptional. Their superior work has allowed us to conduct highly competitive and safe racing throughout the summer and we all owe them a huge thank you. We dedicate significant off-season time and resources to preparing the surfaces for their best and it is heartening to see such positive results.”

Accelerate the Horse of the Meet

Foremost among the exceptional racing that unfolded over the course of the summer was a dominant win by Hronis Racing’s Accelerate in the $1-million TVG Pacific Classic. The Hronis outfit and their trainer, John Sadler, also cut loose one of America’s rising stars in Catalina Cruiser, who pulled off a stakes double with impressive tallies in the San Diego and Pat O’Brien. Then there were a series of 2-year-old stars led by the Bob Baffert-trained and Gary and Mary West-owned Game Winner, victorious in the Grade I Futurity. Bellafina, conditioned by Simon Callaghan and carrying the silks of Kaleem Shah, was the meeting’s top juvenile filly, winning the Grade I Debutante.

Metaboss at Del Mar
copyright Gary Tasich

“On behalf of the California horse owners, we couldn’t be more pleased with the results at Del Mar”, said Nick Alexander, chairman of the Thoroughbred Owners of California. “We congratulate the Del Mar management team and staff on a job well done. It was an outstanding summer and we look forward to returning later this fall.”

Del Mar’s spectacular presentation of the Breeders’ Cup in 2017 earned it a return performance of the championship event in 2021, an announcement that was made at the track in August. The track will now take a short respite before returning for its fifth fall race meeting between November 9 and December 2.

Source: Del Mar