5 plays for Wednesday openers at Delaware Park

5 plays for Wednesday openers at Delaware Park
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Delaware Park begins its 88-day meet on Wednesday with an intriguing eight-race program. This is how I’ll attack the card.

Best bet: Even Thunder (Race 8)

Best value bet: Morocco (Race 3)

Race 2

No. 3 Gina (3-2, morning-line favorite) is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner Mystic Guide and two other six-figure earners, but things have not begun well for her. She checked in third on debut at Colonial last July, then flopped on the synthetic at Woodbine before hitting the shelf. However, if Gina improves even slightly and runs like she’s been training of late, she’ll make 3-2 odds look like a gift here. No. 5 Fishers (8-5) was last in her turf debut and exits a lengthy layoff. But the potent tandem of trainer Brittany Russell and jockey Jevian Toledo are in her corner, and the pedigree suggests she’ll relish the switch to dirt. No. 4 Chez Soleil (6-1) flashes strong half-mile works for her unveiling, and trainer James Lawrence fires at 15 percent with firsters.

How I’d bet it (based on $100 budget): $10 exacta 3/5, $5 exacta 3/4, $5 exacta 5/3

Race 3

No. 2 Morocco (8-1) had an up-and-down dirt campaign since last summer, yet he’s still without a win on the surface (0-for-12). But he’s a seven-time victor on turf, and he returns to that surface in this spot. Morocco is not far removed from a third-place effort against much tougher on the lawn at Gulfstream in March of 2021. A repeat of that could land him in the winner’s circle at a nice price. No. 9 Sandy Lane Kitten (3-1) chased a suicidal pace when last seen at Tampa but beat similar foes two back with the right trip. He’s a three-time winner at Delaware. No. 5 Outrageous Bet (2-1, morning-line favorite) may not be worth these odds but lures Paco Lopez off consecutive runner-up results against comparable company at Tampa.

How I’d bet it: $4 exacta key box 2/5,9, $4 win 2

Race 4

No. 4 Notion of Curly (3-1) was a runaway winner in the slop on debut for Russell at Laurel earlier this month and retains Toledo – could be any kind. No. 2 Sister Supream (8-5, morning-line favorite) drops slightly after fading in the mud last time out and gets in light with seven-pound apprentice Yan Aviles. Her two-back effort puts her in the hunt. No. 1 Mama G’s Wish (2-1) exits back-to-back seconds but is 0-for-5 lifetime at Delaware.

How I’d bet it: $15 win 4

Race 5

No. 5 Diva Ready (7-2, morning-line favorite) didn’t have the cleanest of debut trips when off the board in a tough maiden turf race at Keeneland, but this appears to be a much softer spot. Trainer Johnathan Thomas wins at a staggering 32 percent with second-time starters. No. 3 Luminist (6-1) closed smartly in her turf debut last May, but hasn’t been seen since. However, the return works are encouraging. No. 13 Chameleon (8-1) showed late interest in her unveiling sprinting six furlongs on synthetic at Woodbine, and conditioner Michael Stidham wins at 19 percent with first-time turfers.

How I’d bet it: $10 exacta 5/3,13

Race 8

No. 5 Even Thunder (3-1) tries a new low after failing to compete with $10,000 claimers at Belmont last month. He’ll shed weight with Aviles and has back class that towers over this group. No. 1 Muchacho Macho and No. 1A Grit’n’grind (1-1, morning-line favorite) both have high-percentage rider Jaime Rodriguez (25 percent) listed for trainer Jamie Ness (29 percent), so it’s likely that only one entrymate will run. Either runner could land at least a share, with the former hitting the board in three straight at Laurel and the latter having toppled $10,000 claimers at Parx two-back. No. 3 Whirlin Curlin (4-1) has hit the board in three of five starts this year and fits with these on speed figures.

How I’d bet it: $20 exacta 5/1, $5 exacta 1/5

Robert Criscola is a free-lance handicapper based in New York.

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