It Tiz Well, last years winner of the Delaware Oaks.
The Grade 3 Delaware Oaks for 3 year old fillies has drawn a field of ten contenders and presents a very tough challenge for handicappers. Delaware Park has never been kindly to outside stalkers because the turns are sharp and the wide sweeping moves that work at Belmont are usually the road to nowhere at Delaware. The probable favorite is sitting in the nine hole and that makes her vulnerable in my opinion. Who can take advantage? Let's look at the race.
1. Mo Shopping
The inside is good at Delaware not only because it's the shortest way home, but also because the sharp turns favor horses on the lead and on the rail. Is this daughter of Uncle Mo good enough to take advantage of her post and take them all the way? I think not! She will be hard pressed to even make the lead here and if she gets involved in a duel with Takechargedelilah, Prospective Lady, and Coach Rocks, she will be toast. Even with her win on June 6th at this track against slightly weaker, I can't see her winning in this spot.
2. Blue Union Rags
Seems a cut below this field and would really have to step up to make an impression. The one thing to note is that she is a closer in a field with several solid speed horses. If they go too fast and her jockey is wise enough to stay glued to the rail, I could see her stumbling up into the tri or the super. She is purely for those who think the race will melt down on the front end.
She has run three very nice races, is well bred, and has Pletcher for a trainer. What's not to like? She has serious get up and may make the lead here from the inside. If she can clear and slow it down, she will be very tough, but there is a lot of speed in this race. She's a definite contender. It all depends on the pace and the price.
4. Maya Malibu
Don't know if she has the giddy-up to go with the one to her inside, but if she can work out a stalking trip she's not out of this. The pace is the key to this race, as it usually is in every race. She's another who needs to sit on the rail and wait behind the leaders. Her last was excellent over this track although versus lesser, but I give her and outside chance.
5. Blue Strike
A different filly after the blinkers were added. Even though she looks outclassed at first glance, she is not out of this at all. She keeps improving and may be worth a bet here at a price.
The wild card! Throw her out at your peril. She is unbeaten, has Pletcher, and could be anything. If the odds are high enough, she should be a protect bet to win; if she takes money she will have to be used in everything. These South Americans can be killers so be careful about tossing her.
7. Prospective Lady
She will be out there winging for as long as she goes! The outside at Delaware is tough unless you can clear and get the rail. She has solid speed to her inside and will really have to motor to get the lead here. I do not see her hitting the board here. Even if she clears she will have to be hard used and the inside stalkers will be coming.
8. Coach Rocks
I don't think she's fast enough to get the lead in here, so she will be forced to sit the stalkers trip. She is a nice filly, but she'll take money and may be wide on the turns. I just don't think she's good enough to stalk and hold off the two on her outside. I am taking a position against her.
9. Red Ruby
The probable favorite who has really not run a bad race yet, but I can see her having difficulty here. This post has wide trip written all over it, so her early position will be key to her chances. On paper she looks tough, but I see enough downside to avoid taking her as the favorite. She should be on your tickets, but this will not be easy.
10. Gio Game
If she had drawn inside, she would be the pick. She had enough speed to stay in the same zip code with Monomoy Girl in the Acorn, and there are no Monomoy Girl's in here. I have the same reservations about the post as I do with the horse to her inside, but her price figures to be a lot more attractive. The jockey has to figure out how to get quickly to the inside or she will be out there in no man's land. Worth a play at the right price.
There is a lot going on here. The favorite is stuck on the outside, there is a legitimate wild card in the race, there figures to be a pace duel, and Delaware's turns are tough on closers.
I think the most likely winner is Takechargedelilah, but I will be using Maya Malibu, Blue Strike, Cascanueces, and Gio Game in some fashion. My home run would be Blue Strike, but a combination of any of the others would do just fine.
Good luck if you're playing and Happy Fourth of July to all. Since I am a veteran myself, I'll wish a special 4th to all our Vets!