A sloppy track and a rain delay that kept the runners in the Delaware Park paddock for more than 30 minutes was no bother to WinStar Farm's Dark Nile July 9, as the Arnaud Delacour trainee skipped away to her fourth straight victory and picked up her first graded score in the $300,000 Delaware Oaks (gr. III).
Capping a big day for Delacour, who less than an hour earlier won the $400,000 Belmont Sprint Championship Stakes (gr. III) at Belmont Park with A. P. Indian, the 3-year-old Pioneerof the Nile filly advanced smoothly from fourth to take over from pacesetter Browse as that rival faded entering the far turn.
Jockey Daniel Centeno kept Dark Nile focused to the wire after tracking opening fractions of :23.14 and :46.96 for a 1 1/4-length victory over 17-1 shot A Place to Shine, who closed with a willing bid. The final time was 1:46.54 in the slop.
Dark Nile returned $7, $4, and $3 at odds of 5-2. A Place to Shine paid $10.80 and $5.40, and third-place finisher Kinsley Kisses brought $3.40. Miss Inclusive, Dreams to Reality, Downdraft, Browse, and Eighth Wonder completed the order of finish. Flora Dora scratched.
Bred in Pennsylvania by Blackstone Farm out of the Bernardini mare Royal Society, Dark Nile was a $135,000 purchase by Maverick Racing from the Paramount Sales consignment to the 2014 Keeneland September yearling sale. She went through the ring once prior, when sold for $52,000 to Future Bloodstock from the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment to the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.