By Tom LaMarra
Delaware Park, a regular stop on the MATCH Series calendar years ago, on July 7 will host the first of two series events this year with the $75,000 Dashing Beauty Stakes in the Filly and Mare Sprint–Dirt Division.
The six-furlong Dashing Beauty lured a competitive group including three starters from the June 17 Regret Stakes, the second leg of the five-race division, at Monmouth Park. The winners of the first two legs, tied at the top of the standings with 10 points each, won’t compete in the Delaware race.
Lael Stables’ Chalon, impressive winner of the Regret, was nominated to the Dashing Beauty but trainer Arnaud Delacour earlier said the connections would like to try the filly in a graded stakes at Saratoga Race Course. Jessica Krupnick, Liz’s Cable Girl and Day by Day–second, third and fourth, respectively, in the Regret–were entered in the Dashing Beauty.
Two first-time MATCH starters loom large, however: Dorothy Matz’s Tequilita, who won the grade III Charles Town Oaks last year and finished third in the grade II Ruffian Stakes at Belmont Park in May; and trainer Ernest Haynes’ Lake Ponchatrain, a multiple stakes winner who won a six-furlong prep for the Dashing Beauty June 14 at Delaware Park.
Sycamore Racing V’s Jessica Krupnick, a 5-year-old mare who picked up seven MATCH points in the Regret, rated off a quick pace in the Monmouth stakes but has won multiple times on or near the lead for trainer Francis “Tres” Abbott III. She has a win and a third in three local outings.
The Regret marked the first start of the year for John Cocce, Lisbeth Dodd, Peter Donnelly and Gerard Melley’s Liz’s Cable Girl, who finished a neck behind Jessica Krupnick. Trained by Pat McBurney, Liz’s Cable Girl as a New Jersey-bred is in the running for a breeder’s bonus from the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey based on MATCH Series points.
Tequilita, trained by Michael Matz, finished fourth as the favorite in her last start, the June 16 Obeah Stakes at 1 1/8 miles. (The Obeah is the local prep for the grade II Delaware Handicap, for which Tequilita is nominated.) Based at Fair Hill Training Center, Tequilita won the Smart Halo Stakes as a 2-year-old at Laurel Park in her only start at six furlongs.
Lake Ponchatrain, who is trained by her owner, won the recent allowance race in a sharp 1:09.77 to defeat Old Coach Farm’s Angel At War by a half-length. Previously, the 6-year-old mare was eased late in a grade III stakes on soft turf at Pimlico, but in April won the two-turn, seven-furlong Dance to Bristol Stakes at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races.
Angel At War, a 4-year-old filly trained by Delaware Park-based Mike Gorham, finished second in the Dance to Bristol and is among the 10 entered for the Dashing Beauty.
Delaware Park on July 14–Delaware Handicap Day–will card the $75,000 Hockessin Stakes, the third of five races in the MATCH Series 3-Year-Olds and Up Sprint–Dirt Division.