Pachattack, winner of the April 20 Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) in her only start this year, will be the likely favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Obeah Stakes (gr. III) at Delaware Park June 16.
The $150,000 race, which is named in honor of the 1969 and 1970 Delaware Handicap winner, is the seventh race on the card and is slated for 4:15 p.m. EDT.
Pachattack, a 6-year-old mare conditioned by Graham Motion, has been entered in the local prep for the July 21 Delaware Handicap (gr. II), but her connections are keeping their options open for this weekend and beyond.
“I am planning on cross-entering her in the (June 16) All Along Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Colonial,” said Motion of Pachattack, a $1.2 million purchase at the 2011 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall mixed sale. The daughter of Pulpit—El Laoob, by Red Ransom, is campaigned by the Niarchos family’s Flaxman Holdings.
“Whether she runs in the Obeah Stakes or not, she is still a strong possibility for the Delaware Handicap or the Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes (gr. IIIT, July 14),” added Motion. “It just depends on what I decide to do with her this weekend. We are fortunate in that we have a lot of options with her because she has proven she can do so much. We will take a look at everything and we will decide as we get closer to the weekend.”
Bred in Kentucky by Dapple Broodmares, Pachattack captured last year’s Arlington Matron Stakes (gr. III) and placed in four other grade or group contests in the United States and England, including seconds in the Juddmonte Spinster and Personal Ensign Invitational (both gr. I). She closed her 2011 campaign with a respectable third in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) behind eventual Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta.
In all, Pachattack has a career record of six wins, five seconds, and four thirds from 27 starts, with earnings of $786,893. The co-highweight, who will carry 123 pounds, will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh and will break from post 2.
Motion has also entered Nancy Mazzoni’s She Be Classy in the Obeah Stakes. In her only start this year, the 5-year-old daughter of Toccet ran a distant fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Winter Melody Stakes at Delaware Park May 12.
“It was kind of a tough spot for her to come back in,” Motion said. “I think the 1 1/8 miles helps her. Distance is a key for her. I think she should improve off of her first race this year for sure.”
Last year, three of She Be Classy’s four victories were in races originally scheduled for the turf that were transferred to the main track at Delaware Park, including the John Rooney Memorial and the George Rosenberger Memorial. She has a career record of seven wins, two seconds, and three thirds from 25 starts, for earnings of $206,608.
Daniel Centeno will be aboard and the pair will break from outside post 6.
Another mare to watch is Cresran Stable’s locally-based Tiz Miz Sue, who is looking to improve her effort in last year’s Obeah, where she finished second to eventual Horse of the Year Havre de Grace. The 5-year-old daughter of Tiznow , who is the other co-highweight, has a career record on the Delaware Park main track of four wins and a second from seven starts. Among her victories at the track are the 2010 Polly’s Jet Stakes and the 2011 Winter Melody Stakes.
In her two most recent starts this year, Tiz Miz Sue ran first and third, respectively in the Azeri Stakes (gr. III) and Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) behind Plum Pretty.
“She has been doing great (training at) Delaware Park so far this year,” said Hobby of Tiz Miz Sue, who posted bullet works in three of her last four drills at the track. “This year, she has grown up a little bit. She is relaxing better which gives us a lot more flexibility with her. We used to have to kind of fight her and get her covered up, but now she is a lot more professional. She has always trained and raced well over the Delaware surface, so we are hoping she continues to have success here. The Delaware Handicap is certainly in the plans, especially if she has a solid outing this Saturday.”
An additional local contender to keep an eye on is Farnsworth Stables’ Suroof. The Kentucky-bred trained by Anthony Dutrow will be making her first start against stakes company.
“She deserves a chance in this stakes,” said Dutrow. “She has been impressive with her last two victories and I do not have any concerns with the distance with her.”
If the 5-year-old daughter of Empire Maker has a big effort in the Obeah Stakes, Dutrow would consider bringing her back in the Delaware Handicap.
“The Delaware Handicap is a pretty prestigious race that is going to attract some of the best in the country,” Dutrow said. “For us to consider that step, she would have to be very impressive in this race. Hopefully, she will prove to us she deserves that kind of chance.”
In her most recent start, Suroof won an allowance race by two lengths at Parx Racing May 12. Previously, she notched a 4 1/4-length score in a one-mile allowance at Parx Feb. 14.
The top four finishers in the Obeah automatically earn a free nomination to the Delaware Handicap.
$150,000 Obeah Stakes (gr. III, Race 7, 4:15 p.m.), Fillies and Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Love and Pride (KY), J Rose, 117, T A Pletcher
2. Pachattack (KY), R Maragh, 123, H G Motion
3. Check Point (KY), A Castellano, Jr., 117, A E Goldberg
4. Suroof (KY), A Cintron, 119, A W Dutrow
5. Tiz Miz Sue (KY), J Rocco, Jr., 123, S Hobby
6. She Be Classy (KY), D Centeno, 117, H G Motion