Brereton Jones' Proud Spell wore down her rivals in the final furlong and won the $500,000 Grade II Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park today. Ridden by Gabriel Saez, the daughter of Proud Citizen won by ¾-lengths and covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:43.34 over a fast main track. The Kentucky-bred trained by the leading Delaware Park trainer J. Larry Jones returned $2.60 as the favorite in the field of six. African Violet, with Cornelio Velasquez, ran second and it was another 2-lengths farther back to Shes All Eltish, with Eddie Castro, in third. Maren's Meadow, with Mario Pino, set early fractions of :48.53 for the half mile and 1:11.95 for the three quarters mile before fading into fifth place.
Her trainer J. Larry Jones has now won both big Delaware races. In 2005, he won the Delaware Handicap with Island Sand.
"It is my favorite place to race," said winning trainer J. Larry Jones.
Jones was happy with her effort today.
"She was having to work and the pace had been soft enough that everybody was picking it up. It was not that she wasn't running, but they went :48 and change which is pretty easy for these kind of horses because she is used to chasing fractions of :46 and change and :47. and they make you close a lot faster."
Jones was never concerned about the two weeks in between her last race, the Grade I Mother Goose on June 28 and today.
"I was until yesterday morning," Jones said. "When I rode her yesterday morning, I told Brereton (Jones), 'if I had not planned on running her before today, I would plan on it today.. She trained so well yesterday morning. She just bucked and played all the way home. I felt really good.
Jones intends on running her next in the mile and a quarter $600,000 Grade I Alabama Stakes at Saratoga on August 16.
Palmilla scores upset in Robert G. Dick Memorial
Augustin Stable's Palmilla scored an upset victory in the $300,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes (including $50,000 Breeders' Cup fund) at Delaware Park today. With Rosemary Homeister Jr. astride, the 5-year-old daughter of Crowd Pleaser returned $42.20 as the longest shot in the field of six. The Pennsylvania-bred conditioned by Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard won by 3 1/2-lengths and covered the one mile and three eighths over a firm course in 2:17.28. Herboriste, with A.R. Napravnik, finished second a nose in front of the 1-to-5 favorite, Rosinka with Cornelio Velasquez, in third. Palmilla raised her career record to four wins from 13 starts with earnings of $310,310.
Five Steps steps to easy in R.R.M. Carpenter Jr. Memorial victory
William Harris' Five Steps notched an easy victory in the $100,000 R.R.M. Carpenter Jr. Memorial at Delaware Park today. With J.D. Acosta aboard, the 7-year-old daughter of Yarrow Brae notched a 5 ¼-length score and covered the mile and a sixteenth in 1:42.44 over a firm course. The Maryland-bred trained by Christopher Grove returned $6.60 as the second choice in the field of six. Won Awesome Dude, with Mario Pino, ran second. It was another 3 ¼-lengths farther back to Celtic Innis, with A.R. Napravnik, in third. Kaufy Big Shot, the slight 2-to-1 favorite, with Travis Dunkelberger, finished third. Five Steps raised his career record to nine wins from 17 starts with earnings of $368,746.