Combustion Racing's Delicate Dynamite has been a consistent performer for three years, producing a record of 24-7-7-3 for earnings of $348,649. All that is missing from the résumé of the 4-year-old filly is a graded stakes victory.
The Kentucky-bred daughter of Old Trieste is scheduled to get her shot at that elusive win Nov. 22 in the $300,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on the main track. A field of seven was drawn for the Thanksgiving Day headliner at Churchill Downs.
“She has been doing great, but unfortunately the race has come up a lot tougher than we anticipated,” trainer Tom Amoss said. “We are committed to the spot, and our biggest hope is that the race sets up for her, meaning that there is a lot of pace in there and it sets up for her closing run.”
That was not the case in Delicate Dynamite’s most recent start, the Oct. 25 Revidere Stakes at Monmouth Park, in which she finished second by a length after chasing the leader throughout.
“That race came off the turf (onto a sealed and sloppy main track), and she got stuck behind a lone speed horse and could never catch her,” Amoss said.
Out of the Dynaformer mare Majestic Dy, Delicate Dynamite’s lone main-track appearance at Churchill this year was a fifth-place finish in the Louisville Breeders’ Cup (gr. II) on Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) day. She then ran third in an allowance race and fourth in the Early Times Mint Julep (gr. III), both on the turf. In all, the chestnut filly is 0-for-6 since May, placing four times.
But earlier in the year, Delicate Dynamite, who was a $25,000 yearling purchase in 2004, reeled off three consecutive victories, all in stakes competition in Louisiana.
“She is a horse that is very, very close to breaking into the graded stakes ranks,” Amoss said. “At this point, she hasn’t done it, and we are searching for the right spot. This would be a great spot to break in.”
Brian Hernandez Jr. will ride Delicate Dynamite from post seven.
To get that graded score, Delicate Dynamite will have to defeat Glencrest Farm's talented 3-year-old filly Panty Raid. The daughter of Include has been superb this year, hitting the winner's circle four times in seven starts, including her most recent effort, a gutsy half-length victory in the Oct. 7 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland.
Trained by Todd Pletcher, Panty Raid also has a win in the July 7 American Oaks (gr. I) at Hollywood Park and the May 18 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes(gr. II) at Pimlico Race Course. She was assigned top weight of 120 pounds in the Falls City, with Garrett Gomez aboard.
Panty Raid had been under consideration for the Oct. 27 Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I) or the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) but was not entered because Pletcher was not happy with results of blood work.
The only other graded stakes winner in the field is Tom Crouch’s Kettleoneup, trained by Mike Tomlinson. A 4-year-old daughter of Victory Gallop, Kettleoneup won the April 24 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne Race Course under Calvin Borel, who will have the mount again. Her best effort at Churchill was a late-running third-place finish behind Indian Vale and Asi Siempre in the $300,000 Fleur de Lis (gr. II) June 16.
Kettleoneup, who drew the rail in the Falls City, scored by a half-length in the Oct. 16 Autumn Leaves Stakes at Mountaineer Race Track & Gaming Resort in her last effort.
$300,000 Falls City Handicap (gr. II, Race 11, 4:24 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/8 Miles
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Kettleoneup, 118, Calvin H. Borel
2. Panty Raid, 120, Garrett K. Gomez
3. Jill Indy Pulpit, 112, Larry Melancon
4. High Heels, 115, Joe M. Johnson
5. Lampoon, 114, Larry J. Sterling, Jr.
6. Tessa Blue, 115, Mike E. Smith
7. Delicate Dynamite, 115, Brian Hernandez, Jr.