Harold Queen's Sheer Drama will attempt to avenge her loss to Frivolous in the June 13 Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) when those two and five other fillies and mares face off in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap (gr. I) July 18 at Delaware Park.
The Del Cap, run at 1 1/4 miles, is the centerpiece of the 81-day meet at Delaware Park. In 2012-13 the race was won by Royal Delta, who was voted champion older female both of those years.
Sheer Drama, a 5-year-old Burning Roma mare trained by David Fawkes, was the favorite in the Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs and raced extremely well to finish second to Frivolous, who upset at 32-1. The dirt surface that evening at Churchill played toward horses on or near the lead on the final turn, and the winner got the jump on Sheer Drama.
"She never could catch that horse in front of her," Fawkes said July 14. "We had her where we wanted to be, but nobody backed up. (The Del Cap) has a very similar, very competitive field."
Fawkes said in her last work at Gulfstream Park, Sheer Drama, who won the grade II Royal Delta Stakes at Gulfstream earlier this year, worked in company.
"We made her sit behind, and she came up to the other horse really easy," he said. "She has been training excellent since the Churchill race."
Sheer Drama, who arrived at Delaware Park July 13 and made her career debut there in June 2013, will be ridden by Joe Bravo, who has a win and four seconds in stakes company aboard the mare. She will carry 118 pounds from post 5.
G. Watts Humphrey's Frivolous also hasn't raced since the Fleur de Lis and has been training at Keeneland for Victoria Oliver. The 5-year-old Empire Maker mare finished behind second-place finisher Sheer Drama in the La Troienne Stakes (gr. I) at Churchill in her previous start.
Jon Court, who has ridden Frivolous to her two stakes wins including the 2014 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill, has a return call at 118 pounds from post 1.
RMJ Stables' Fortune Pearl, winner of last year's Delaware Oaks (gr. III), drew post 3 at 114 pounds with Trevor McCarthy riding. Trained by Graham Motion, Fortune Pearl, by Mineshaft , hopes to get back on track after two losses in stakes company.
"(She) should get better with the distance," Motion said. "Last year she ran well in the (grade I) Alabama Stakes. She also came out running well at Keeneland in April, but her last couple races have been disappointing. (The) Obeah was a little bit of an odd race, so maybe the race did not suit her that day."
The June 20 Obeah Stakes (gr. III), won by stablemate Luna Time at 15-1, was at 1 1/8 miles. Luna Time was nominated to but not entered in the Del Cap.
Main Line Racing Stable's Joint Return is still seeking her first graded stakes win despite strong efforts in top company for most of her 14 career starts. Trained by John Servis, the late-running 4-year-old Include filly will be ridden again by Kendrick Carmouche at 116 pounds from post 7.
Joint Return finished fourth in last year's Delaware Oaks, and then shipped to Saratoga Race Course where she was a fast-closing second in the Alabama. In the Obeah last time out, Joint Return rallied from 10th and last to finish second; she has a win and two seconds in three local starts.
"We were actually using the Obeah as an experiment to see if we sat longer if she would finish better," Servis said. "In her last few, I felt like she made a big move and did not sustain the rally. She would just kind of hang out there at the end. So we asked (Carmouche) to sit just a little longer, and she was certainly running at the end.
"She is doing great coming into the race, so we are pretty excited."
Also entered are Bobby Flay's America, fifth in the Fleur de Lis; Preston Stables' Flashy American, second in the Iowa Distaff Stakes last time out; and Bethlehem Stables, Michael Dubb, and Highclere America's Rosalind, who scratched from the July 11 Robert Dick Memorial Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Delaware Park to run back on the dirt after a fourth-place finish in the June 6 Ogden Phipps Stakes (gr. I).
Delaware Park, Saturday, July 18, 2015, Race 10
- 1 1/4m
- 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
- 5:45 PM (local)
|1||1Frivolous (KY)||Jon Kenton Court||118||Victoria H. Oliver||-|
|2||2America (KY)||Junior Alvarado||113||William I. Mott||-|
|3||3Fortune Pearl (KY)||Trevor McCarthy||114||H. Graham Motion||-|
|4||4Flashy American (KY)||Edgar S. Prado||117||Kenneth G. McPeek||-|
|5||5Sheer Drama (FL)||Joe Bravo||118||David Fawkes||-|
|6||6Rosalind (KY)||Joel Rosario||117||Chad C. Brown||-|
|7||7Joint Return (KY)||Kendrick Carmouche||116||John C. Servis||-|