Richard Englander's Devon Rose raced herself into the Delaware Handicap (gr. II) with an impressive score in the $100,000 Obeah Handicap for fillies and mares at Delaware Park Saturday.
Ridden by 52-year-old Anthony Black, the 4-year-old daughter of Devongate cut early fractions of :47.93 for the half mile and 1:11.97 for the three quarters of a mile before posting the 4 1/2-length triumph. She covered the 1 1/8-mile distance over a sloppy track in 1:50.20 and returned $3.20 as the favorite in the field of five. Shiny Sheet, with Abel Castellano aboard, ran second and it was another 1 3/4-lengths further back to True Sensation, with Juan Umana astride.
The Obeah score was the third consecutive victory for Devon Rose at Delaware Park this year. In her last, the Florida bred trained by Allen Iwinski notched a 5 1/2-length victory in the Summer King Stakes on June 2. Her career record is six wins from 20 starts with earnings of $224,000.
Before the Obeah, Iwinski was not sure about the 1 1/4-mile distance of $750,000 Delaware Handicap for fillies and mares on July 20, but now he is convinced that Devon Rose has earned the chance.
"As soon as she crossed the finish line I called Rick (Englander) and the first words out of his mouth was Delaware Handicap," trainer Allen Iwinski declared. "I think she has certainly earned the opportunity and the chance."
Before the race, Iwinski had only one concern.
"It was a great effort," Iwinski said. "I was a little concerned on how she would handle the sloppy track because she has never raced on it. We did work her on a sealed track coming into this race, but you never know until they race over it."