Isola Piu Bella, a three-time stakes winner this year, will take on 11 rivals as the slight 7-2 morning line favorite in Sunday's Delaware Handicap (gr. II). The 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares will have a record purse of $1 million and will be televised live on ESPN2.
Isola Piu Bella, who will carry top weight of 119 pounds in the Del 'Cap, notched a two-length score in the 1 1/8-mile $100,000 Obeah Handicap at Delaware Park in her last outing June 18. Earlier this year, she won the Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne and the Sabin Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park, both of which were held at 1 1/8 miles.
She has proven herself at the mile and a quarter distance. In 2003, while racing in her native Chile, she won a pair of group I events going 1 1/4 miles and also beat the boys in the 1 3/8-mile group I St. Leger. Isola Piu Bella's career record is nine wins, three seconds, and a third from 16 starts with earnings of $474,960. Todd Pletcher trains her.
Two Trail Sioux, the 4-1 second choice, led the way to post a length score in the 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs June 18 in her last start. The Wally Dollase trainee has won six of her last seven starts and sports a career record of six wins, two seconds, and a third from 10 starts with earnings of $424,960.
The third choice in the Del 'Cap is 5-1 Island Sand, who ran sixth in the Fleur de Lis after breaking badly last time out. In her previous start, she ran a close second in the May 6 Louisville Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill. Island Sand, whose big win came in last year's Acorn Stakes (gr. I) at Belmont Park, sports a record of four wins, five seconds, and two thirds from 16 starts and earnings of $559,277. L.J. Jones trains her.
Silmaril, the 6-1 fourth choice who is trained by Christopher W. Grove, has won nine of 14 starts, including the Pimlico Breeders' Cup Distaff Handicap (gr. III) and Northview Stallion Station Stakes in her last two starts. She carried 124 pounds over 1 1/8 miles to win the Northview.
Personal Legend, a stakes winner this year, and Strategy, who is stakes-placed this year, are each at 8-1.
$1 Million Delaware H. (gr. II), Race 11, 5:44 PM
Horse Jockey Weight Trainer Odds
1 Strategy Edgar S. Prado 110 Claude R. McGaughey 8/1
2 Silent Siren No rider 109 Thomas M. Bush 30/1
3 Personal Legend Rafael Bejarano 114 Robert J. Frankel 8/1
4 Silmaril Ryan Fogelsonger 116 Christopher W. Grove 6/1
5 Racing Luck Jeremy Rose 113 Timothy F. Ritchey 20/1
6 Isola Piu Bella John Velazquez 119 Todd A. Pletcher 7/2
7 Saintliness No rider 113 Kiaran P. McLaughlin 12/1
8 Becky in Pink No rider 112 Steve Klesaris 20/1
9 Friel's for Real Ramon A. Dominguez 113 Edward T. Allard 12/1
10 India Halo Jose C. Caraballo 112 Michael R. Matz 20/1
11 Two Trail Sioux Pat Day 117 Wallace A. Dollase 4/1
12 Island Sand Jerry D. Bailey 115 J. Larry Jones 5/1