Indian Vale, winner of seven races in 10 starts, tops a field of nine entered in the $1-million Delaware Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up at 1¼ miles July 15.
Indian Vale, an Ontario-bred daughter of A.P. Indy owned and bred by Eugene Melnyk, is the 2-1 morning-line favorite in the Del Cap, centerpiece of the meet at the Delaware racetrack.
In her last start, Indian Vale posted a 1½-length triumph in the 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs June 16. Previously, she ran fourth, beaten 2½ lengths, in the May 4 Louisville Breeders' Cup (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill. In her only other outing this year, the Todd Pletcher trainee posted a 5½-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile Next Move Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct March 31.
The second choice in the morning line is Martin Schwartz's Asi Siempre. The 5-year-old daughter of El Prado finished second to Indian Vale in the Fleur de Lis in her most recent race. Previously, the Kentucky-bred trained by Patrick Biancone finished second beaten a head in the Louisville Breeders' Cup.
Asi Siempre’s most recent win came in the 1 1/16-mile Doubledogdare Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland April 18, her first start of 2007. Last year, she finished second in the Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I). Her career record stands at seven wins, five seconds, and two thirds from 19 starts with earnings of $938,000.
The local favorite is Peak Maria's Way, trained by Michael Gorham for Old Coach Farm and John D. Murphy. The 4-year-old daughter of Pyramid Peak sports a Delaware Park record of five wins from seven starts.
Peak Maria’s Way notched a two-length score in the 1 1/8-mile Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park June 16 in her last start. Previously, she won a one-mile allowance test at Delaware Park May 29. She has a career record seven wins, a second, and a third from 17 starts with earnings of $296,804.
On July 5, Peak Maria’s Way breezed five furlongs in :59 1/5 at Delaware Park.
“She was full of run,” jockey Joe Rocco said of the workout. “She galloped out good. She is ready. The last time when I rode in her in the Obeah, (Gorham) said to wait as long as I can, but she dragged me up to leader. She went easy and very comfortably, and when I asked her to run, she just took off.”
“She obviously has done well here at Delaware, and another obvious big edge is you do not have to ship for the race,” Gorham said. "All you have to do is walk out of your own barn to go the race. There are horses that really like this track and if they do, it is advantage.”
Darlene Bilinski and Harry Patten's Daytime Promise may be the upset special play. In her last race, the 4-year-old daughter of Five Star Day finished eighth in the 1 1/16-mile Foresta Stakes at Belmont Park June 9. Previously, Daytime Promise, trained by Gary Contessa, finished second beaten a nose in the 1 1/16-mile Winter Melody Stakes at Delaware Park May 14. Her career record is two wins, five seconds, and seven thirds from 18 starts with earnings of $192,209.
“My filly will love a mile and a quarter,” Contessa said. “Most of your distance horses will go up to a mile and an eighth, but a mile and a quarter really separates the women from the girls. Given that, I think Daytime Promise is a custom-made mile-and-a-quarter horse.”
Promenade Girl, owned by Sondra Bender, will be seeking her first victory this year. The 5-year-old daughter of Carson City ran third in both of her outings in 2007.
In her last race, Promenade Girl was beaten 8 ½ lengths in the 1 1/16-mile Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont. Previously, the Maryland-bred trained by Lawrence Murray was beaten a half-length in the one-mile Monmouth Beach Stakes at Monmouth Park May 19.
Here is the complete field, with post positions, weights, and jockeys. Post time for the Delaware Handicap is set for 5:44 p.m. Eastern time.
1 Peak Maria’s Way 115 Joe Rocco
2 Lila Paige 113 Roberto Alvarado Jr.
3 Asi Siempre 112 Edgar Prado
4 Unbridled Belle 114 Ramon Dominguez
5 Ice Cool Kitty 114 Corey Lanerie
6 Indian Vale 120 John Velazquez
7 Promenade Girl 177 Jeremy Rose
8 Daytime Promise 112 Mario Pino
9 Take a Check 111 (Jockey to be announced)