Anstu Stables' homebred Irving's Baby set moderate fractions, then drew away in the stretch to upset the field in Sunday's $600,300 Delaware Handicap (gr. III) at Delaware Park. Ramon Dominguez guided the 18-1 longshot to victory, with the pair covering the 1 1/4 miles in 2:05.21 on a fast track.
Lazy Slusan raced just behind Irving's Baby as the leader raced a half-mile in :49.40 and six furlongs in 1:14.04. Jostle, Under the Rug, and Lady Melesi remained in close contact with the leaders as Lazy Slusan bid for the lead with a quarter-mile to run. Dominguez shook up Irving's Baby in the stretch and the pair drew away to the 3 3/4-length win.
"This has been a great day," said Dominguez, who rode Navesink to victory in the Kent Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. IIIT) earlier on the card. "Everything has just worked out perfect for this filly. She broke pretty sharp and she relaxed really well. The fractions were very comfortable and from then on I knew we had a great shot -- in order for her to get beat somebody would have really had to make a good run. We had a lot of horse turning for home and when I asked her to roll she responded."
Under the Rug finished second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Lazy Slusan. Jostle, Lady Melesi, and Humble Clerk completed the order of finish.
Irving's Baby returned $38, $12.60, and $4.40. Under the Rug paid $6.60 and $4.20. Lazy Slusan was worth $3.20 to show. The winning exacta combination returned $153.20.
The Delaware Handicap marked the first career graded stakes start for the Todd Pletcher-trained Irving's Baby. The 4-year-old daughter of Quiet American won three consecutive stakes races at Laurel Park this winter, including an eight-length romp in the 1 1/4-mile Snow Goose Handicap. Irving's Baby earned $360,000 for the win, her seventh in 21 starts. (Chart, Equibase