The Delaware Park Racing Secretary, Pat Pope, seems to be sending a few messages with his assignment of the weights for the track's premier race, the 2011 Delaware Handicap.
Here are the weights assigned for Saturday's Big Race:
Havre De Grace - 124
Blind Luck - 122
Life At Ten - 115
Payton D'oro - 115
Tiz Miz Sue - 114
Sweet N Sour Nina - 113
Sarah's Song - 110
The first message is clearly Mr. Pope sees Havre de Grace and Blind Luck as superior racehorses to the rest of the prospective field, as evidenced by the chasm between the weights assigned to the two of them versus everyone else in the field, including defending race champion, Life At Ten. Fair enough, I completely agree. The other message, that Havre De Grace is the deserving highweight by a two pound margin, is a much more interesting point to explore.
I can see why Pope has given two more pounds to the local charge, after all, Havre De Grace was nearly the Juvenile Filly Champion two years ago, and was named the Champion Three-Year-Old Filly of 2010. Wait a minute, it wasn't Havre De Grace who is a whisker from being a two-time champion, rather it is her rival, Blind Luck.
OK, so surely the reason for the two pound allowance, for the reigning champion, is due to the head-to-head record in the rivalry. With a 3-2 advantage in their five meetings, Pope had every right to put more weight on Havre De Grace. Uh oh, wrong again, the Californian based filly holds the edge in the head-to-head rivalry.
Perhaps it was based on what happened at Delaware Park last year, as Havre De Grace stormed by Blind Luck in the late stages to win the Delaware Oaks. No sir, it was Blind Luck doing the storming when she defeated Havre De Grace in last summer's Delaware Oaks.
Grade 1 victories, that has to be it. Havre De Grace has six to her credit, far outdistancing the total of one for Blind Luck … Or do I have that backwards?
You see what I am getting at here. I understand we live in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately kind of world, and Havre De Grace beat Blind Luck in their only meeting this year, in the Grade 3 Azeri Stakes, but whatever happened to respecting career credentials? Also, keep in mind, Blind Luck is coming off two impressive wins herself.
Blind Luck getting two pounds from Havre De Grace at this point in their respective careers is a farce. Although ... I understand her trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer, was pleased with the assignments. Hmmm, come to think of it maybe that is exactly the reason the weights came down the way they did.
What say you, Mr. Pope?