The $400,000 Delaware Handicap (G2) drew a field of seven fillies and mares that will travel 1 ¼ miles on the main track led by Bonnie South and Queen Nekia.
Formerly called the New Castle Handicap, the Del Cap was first run in 1937 and when it offered up a $100,000 purse in 1953 it was the richest race in the world for fillies and mares.
The race has drawn some of the top ladies of the division. Recent winners include Elate, Songbird, Royal Delta, Life At Ten, and Blind Luck.
The Brad Cox trained Bonny South is the 3-2 morning line favorite. Florent Geroux will be on board this daughter of Munnings who was second in the Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont Park on June 5 in her last outing.
“She is doing well,” said Cox. “She is a solid horse. You never really have to make any excuses for her and hopefully with a good trip on Saturday, she will get the job done. We have run her at Fair Grounds, Oaklawn, Pimlico, Keeneland, Saratoga, Belmont and obviously Churchill and she has run well at each time regardless of distance. She is a just a consistent and solid filly.”
2021 Ogden Phipps Replay
The Saffie Joseph Jr. trained Queen Nekia (3-1) appears to be the biggest threat to the chalk. The mare has won five of her 10 starts over the Delaware Park main track with a pair of seconds. She was fourth in the Ogden Phipps in her last outing.
The Del Cap is one of four stakes on the Saturday afternoon card at Delaware Park. The supporting features are the $50,000 Battery Park, $100,000 Dashing Beauty and the $150,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial (G3).
Let’s head out to Delaware Park for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Delaware Park Race 9 The Delaware Handicap G2 5:15 ET
2 Queen Nekia 3-1
5 Bonny South 3-2
1 Gibberish 8-1
6 Miss Marissa 6-1
One of two in here sent out by the Joseph barn, this gal appears to have the best shot of beating the chalk. The mare came up short last out in the Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont Park going 1 1/16 miles, a distant fourth in a race where Bonny South ran second. The mare stalked the early pace while down along a dead rail and weakened in the stretch, 14 lengths back of the winner. The winner was Letruska who came back to win the Fleur De Lis (G2) at Churchill Downs in her next outing on June 26. The mare has tried 1 ¼ miles just once in her career, a well beaten sixth in this race in 2019 which was won by Elate. She kicked off her 2021 campaign with a career top speed fig winning the Royal Delta (G3) at Gulfstream Park off a three-month break. She then finished evenly in a fourth-place finish in the Top Flight Invitational at Aqueduct going 1 1/8 miles. There is not much early pace signed on here and she will need to be a bit closer to the pace but if she can run back to her effort in the Royal Delta that would put her in the mix in this spot.
The Cox trainee earned a career top speed figure in her runner up finish in the Ogden Phipps. She won the Doubledogdare (G3) at Keeneland two back off a 4 ½ month break. She landed in the exacta in five of her six starts last year including a runner up in the Alabama (G1) at the Spa at this distance. She then was beaten a neck by Miss Marissa in the Black Eyed Susan (G2) last October. She looks primed for a top effort third off the bench and reunites with Geroux who has been on board for two of her wins. She is the obvious one to beat here but her price is going to end up on the short side.
The other Joseph trainee, she pressed the early pace and finished gamely in a runner up finish to Altar in the Lady Secret at Monmouth Park last out going 1 1/16 miles. She was fourth in the Royal Delta (G3) three back behind our top pick. She draws the rail and has some early speed. If she is able to get away with a soft opening half mile, she may be able to stick around for a share late. The question mark is the distance as she has not been beyond 1 1/16 miles in her 11-race career which includes four wins. Her lone stakes win came in the slop over the main track at Delta Downs going a mile in the Treasure Chest.