Delaware Oaks features Tell a Great Story, Ile St. Molly rematch
"Hopefully, she runs the same way and if she runs the same race, we know we are going to have a good chance," he remarked. "Her two workouts coming into this race have been good, and she is training very well. She has been getting better with every race, and I think that is because she is becoming more mature and focused.
"This is going to be a big step up for her, though. When you run for this kind of money with these stakes, it is never easy, so we are also looking at this as a chance to see where we are with this filly. We are very happy with where we are now and we will see where we are after the race. Hopefully, we will be a whole lot happier."
Ile St. Molly, who had 11 1/2 lengths to spare over Alli Leigh in the Go for Wand, was already a stakes winner heading into that race. The Ile St. Louis sophomore had captured Oaklawn Park's Lady Razorback Futurity during her two-year-old campaign, and earlier this year added that track's Rainbow Miss and Delaware Park's Our Mims to her resume.
"We have been trying to teach her to lay off the pace a little bit, but however it sets up, I think we can do either this time," trainer Kenny Smith said of his star pupil. "I think we can win on the lead or I think we can just set off the pace if we have to do it. I look for a good race out of her.
"She is easy and a pleasure to train. A lot of them will surprise you, and that is why you got to give them all a chance to run in these kind of races to see if they can handle it. Some of them handle it and some of them do not. I have had a bunch of horses in my career handle it, but I have had a whole lot more who have not. That is a part of the game. But I think this filly is special. I think she is going to run really well, and I do not think the mile-and-a-sixteenth will bother her one bit.
"In the Go for Wand, both of those fillies finished awfully strong with a pretty fast final quarter. My filly was a little aggressive down the backside, but we got outrun, and when you get outrun, you just go to the next race."
While all eyes will be on Tell a Great Story and Ile St. Molly, Maracuya could upset the apple cart following a fourth-placing in the Black-Eyed Susan on May 17. The Ralph Nicks trainee captured her initial two starts at Gulfstream Park in March and will have jockey Edgar Prado aboard for her second stakes try.
Also entered are Go for Wand third Alli Leigh; Broomsage, who was third in the Our Mims and fourth in the Go for Wand; and Dancing Afleet, winner of her last two by a combined 11 1/2 lengths.
Valiant Girl is another English import who is seeking her first stakes credit. The Lemon Drop Kid four-year-old also has four U.S. starts under her girth, but has yet to face black-type rivals. In her most recent race, the bay filly ran fourth while going nine furlongs under the Twin Spires.
"Valiant Girl is a filly I have wanted to run further but have not had the opportunity," Motion said. "I know this is a big step for her, but I really think she is going to like the distance. To be honest, she has run well, but I just think she needs the distance so she can take it to the next level. I think she will be competitive. She came to me with the thinking that she would be the kind of filly that would fit in this type of race, and I have been conservative with her. There are just so few opportunities to run at this distance in an allowance race, so now is a good time to step her up to see how she handles the competition."
Game Fair is Motion's third entry, and the four-year-old daughter of Quiet American will be returning to the grass following a third-placing in an off-the-turf allowance at Delaware Park on June 15.
Looking to keep Motion from the winner's circle will be Treasured Up, who already accomplished that task when denying Qushchi in the Keertana last out for trainer Al Stall Jr. The Medaglia d'Oro dark bay earned her first stakes win in that contest, and was also third in the Regret last season.
Others in with a chance include multiple Grade 3 victress Laughing, who just captured the Eatontown Handicap at Monmouth Park two weeks ago; stakes winner Clare Skies Ahead, placed in the All Along for the past two seasons; and Sheepshead Bay upsetter Tannery.
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