Delaware Park presents a solid eight-race card this Wednesday, highlighted by the $50,000 Peach Blossom Stakes for fillies and mares going 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf. Let’s discuss my five favorite wagering races on the program.
Best bet: Rustys Gfivefifty (Race 6)
Best value bet: Two Step Dance (Race 3)
No. 1 Mama G’s Wish (7-2) has won two straight for trainer John Robb (18: 6-4-2 at the meet), including a state-bred stake just two weeks ago – merits more respect than third-choice status. No. 4 Date Night Kisses (9-5, morning-line favorite) has settled for second in her first two starts against winners, both coming since switching to meet-leading trainer Jamie Ness. The rider change to current course king Jaime Rodriguez could put her over the top. No. 3 Lanfrankophile (6-1) beat similar foes by a nose in her last fast-track start at Monmouth, consider.
How I’d bet it (based on $100 budget): $10 exacta box 1/4
No. 3 Two Step Dance (5-1) finished with interest to be a close third in his third turf start here when last seen. He’ll add slightly more ground and appears to have found a susceptible field. No. 9 Henderson (9-2) will likely try to wire these under Jeremy Rose, who’s having a strong meet so far (48: 13-6-6). No. 11 Blowing Big Smoke (7-2, morning-line favorite) was a modest third at Parx in his turf debut two weeks ago but is backed by potent connections in Ness and Rodriguez.
How I’d bet it (turf only): $2 exacta box 3/9/11, $8 win 3
No. 12 Kinda Lucky (8-1) didn’t have much luck at the draw but could take this race gate-to-wire anyway, as there’s a dearth of early speed types facing her. She’s 2-for-2 lifetime over this course, wiring a similar group when last seen in the fall. Trainer Brittany Russell fires at 26 percent with runners returning off a layoff of 90 or more days. No. 13 Come Storming (7-2, morning-line favorite) tries a new low and lures Carol Cedeno (22 percent at the meet) for her first start since August at Saratoga. Her best work to date has come at the claiming level. No. 3 Memphis Showboat (9-2) fits with these on speed figures but likely needs a fast pace to secure anything more than a minor award.
How I’d bet it (turf only): $10 win 12, $5 exacta box 12/13
No. 3 Rustys Gfivefifty (2-1, morning-line favorite) stands out on speed figures and frequently runs well at this level – the pick. No. 1 Teewinot Pass and No. 1A Formal Order (4-1) both exit a win in their last start for trainer Scott Lake (11: 3-1-2 at the meet). Cedeno is listed on both. No. 2 Kenner and No. 2B Heartness each represent Ness, with Rodriguez listed on both. Each horse likes to settle for minor awards and should be used underneath.
How I’d bet it: $10 exacta 3/1,2
No. 9 Murph (7-2) is a big threat to wire the field in the Peach Blossom Stakes. She has improved significantly in the speed figure department since switching to turf, though the results aren’t there yet. Murph drops slightly and cuts back a half-furlong, which could make the difference under Jevian Toledo. No. 1 Chasing Big Checks (9-2) just missed in a state-bred stakes over the Delaware dirt two weeks ago, and now makes her grass debut in her second start off the bench. The daughter of Mr. Big looks well-spotted by Ness. No. 6 Izzybella (10-1) has a win and a third in three career turf starts and could land a share.
How I’d bet it (turf only): $10 win 9, $5 exacta box 1/9
Robert Criscola is a free-lance handicapper based in New York.