Newark, Del., May 10, 2011 — The local road to the July 16 Delaware Handicap will begin this Saturday when 10 fillies and mares go post ward in the mile-and-a-sixteenth $50,000 Winter Melody Stakes at Delaware Park. The next local prep for the $750,000 Grade II mile-and-a-quarter classic is the mile-and-an-eighth $150,000 Grade III Obeah Stakes on June 11.

After a sensational winter campaign at Oaklawn Park, Sarah’s Song will be stepping in against stakes company for the first time in her career.

The 4-year-old daughter of Songandaprayer won her last two races in front running fashion by a combined margin of 19 lengths. In her most recent, the Kentucky-bred conditioned by McLean Robertson posted an 11-length triumph in a one-mile allowance on April 1. Previously, she posted an eight-length victory in a mile-and-a-sixteenth allowance on March 17. In her two other outings this year, she finished third versus allowance company going six furlongs on March 3 and broke her maiden by three lengths going six furlongs on January 27. She has a career record of three wins and three thirds from six starts and earnings of $84,250.

Trainer “Mac” Robertson credits being able to stretch her out for Sarah’s Song two recent spectacular efforts.

“She is a route mare and she finally got fit enough to run long,” said Robertson. “I feel good because she can run fast early and keep running, so obviously those are the type of horses that make a trainer.”

Robertson feels like the further she goes, the more dangerous she will be.

“She can run a long ways,” said Robertson. “She has run two monster races, so she may regress a little on Saturday, but obviously she is here for the filly and mare series going long. With this race, I hope we win it, but it is not the most important thing to me. I think the further I run her, the more comfortable she will be early. When we stretch her out to mile and an eighth or a mile and a quarter, if they want to go with her, they are not going to win. She is fast out of the gate and she just finds her rhythm and keeps on going, so we will see how she does Saturday. I had her here with me last year. Unfortunately, I did not to run her here, but she has trained over the track and seems to like it. Hopefully, she will like the track and run well.”

The old adage goes “with a filly or mare come to Delaware” and Robertson is following it.

“Delaware really has a great thing,” he said. “If you have a horse like this and you are at most other tracks and you have a nice mare that can run long, it can be tough, but you can bring them to Delaware and run them. When you go to other places with this type of horse, you gotta ship, ship, ship. They have a nice local prep for the $750,000 stake and if you finish in the top four you get a nomination. Coming to Delaware makes sense to me. It is a nice place to train and a great place to run.”

The top three finishers in the Winter Melody Stakes earn a free nomination to the Obeah Stakes and the top four finishers in the Obeah Stakes earn a free nomination to the Delaware Handicap.

The Winter Melody Stakes is named after the two-time winner of the Obeah Stakes (1997 & 1998) conditioned by the late great Delaware Park trainer Robert Camac.