Merry Fox Stables homebred Guilty Twelve put in a sustained stretch drive to nip favored Zipessa at the wire in the $200,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes (G3T) to provide trainer Graham Motion his eighth victory in the July 8 Delaware Park feature.
A 5-year-old daughter of Giant's Causeway sent off at 10-1 odds under jockey Christopher DeCarlo, Guilty Twelve was well-back in eighth as Bishop's Pond took the field through an opening quarter in :25.24 and :50.38 pace through a half-mile while pressed by 6-5 favorite Zipessa and jockey Joe Bravo.
Those two engaged each other for a duel on the front end and ran six furlongs in 1:14.50. Zipessa took charge rounding the final turn in the 1 3/8-mile turf test after a mile in 1:38.63 and pulled away to a two-length advantage in upper stretch as the rest of the field began to press the point. With a closely bunched group gaining ground in the stretch, Guilty Twelve ran gamely through the middle of the turf course and was able to just get up for the nose victory.
The final time was 2:17.23 as Guilty Twelve returned $22.40, $6.20 and $4.00. Zipessa, a multiple grade-1 placed mare who was seeking her first victory since last year's Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes (G3T), finished a head in front of third-place finisher Gone Away.
"It is funny how this race has been so good to me," Motion said. "It really is extraordinary. But this is a race I always have in mind because it seems like we always have a filly for this category. Obviously, it is one of my favorite races these days.
"She is a tough filly," Motion contined. "She is very honest and she really knows where the wire is. That is for sure. Chris (DeCarlo) gave her a beautiful ride. I think she is improving and she is beautifully bred."
Guilty Twelve is out of the winning Danehill mare Arkadina and improved her record to four wins from 10 starts with $263,806 in earnings.
"I had a perfect trip and I had a lot of horse underneath me the whole way," said DeCarlo. "The last eighth of a mile, I brought my stick out and hit her once and she did not really respond. When I won on her last time, I did not really hit her so much. I hand rode her and she fought, so I put the whip away and hand rode her, and it worked."