Team 7 Illusions Looks for Fourth DEL Handicap Win

DEL Handicap (Grade 2)- $750.000 Purse
DEL- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Quarter on the Dirt
July 14, 2018

This weekend, DEL will get a chance to be in the spotlight, with the 13th running of the DEL Handicap being the featured race of the day. Some of the best female horses will take part in the event, and it is likely that we’ll be seeing a few of these in the BC Distaff in a few months. For now, we need a winner of what is pretty nice purse for this ten furlong event. It was once a $1,000.000 race, but in 2010, the purse was cut to the current level. The race was won last year by Way Up in what would her final career win. She ran in the Distaff in both 2016 and 2017 and now serves as a broodmare for her trainer, Team 7 Illusions. The DEL Handicap has been a great race for Team 7, as he was won it three times, including the first two runnings of the race. He’ll look to add to that list as he will be starting three in the race. Let’s meet his entries, as well as the other eight, now!

#1- Updated (Mb Stables, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Mb Stables gets his two entries into the two inside positions, and will be hoping that it works out to benefit Updated. This is a filly who has had a strong career, though perhaps a little under the radar when we compare her to other top females in the game. She’s won big races, such as the Grade 1 Spinster last October, beating Way Up in the process; and had a solid third place showing in the Alabama. This year, she has not been able to avoid the rain, though the Spinster was won in the rain, too, so maybe we can’t blame these two off the board finishes on that.

#2- Down And Out (Mb Stables, ridden by A A Gallardo)- This is the typical horse that Mb Stables always surprises us with, the up and comer when he has a more accomplished starter in the field. Normally, this is the type of entry that has the better race, and I could see that happening again. Most of her career has been in allowances, but her last two saw her step up in a big way. It started with a third place showing in the Apple Blossom, before winning the Grade 2 Ruffian at BEL in her last start two months ago. She’s rested, ready, and a contender in here.

#3- Queenwood (Smokey Stover, ridden by R Bejarano)- She had a fantastic career, and always should be considered a threat wherever she shows up. However, there could have been some people thinking along the lines of , “what have you done for me lately” with her. I wasn’t one of them, but some time had passed since her last big win. In the Grade 1 Beholder last month, she should have erased any of those doubts. While she didn’t win as she was narrowly edged out by Chase, it was a great effort. If we go off history, she does her best running this time of year, so she may be due for a return trip to the winners circle.

#4- Bonkers (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- The first of the three being saddled by Team 7 Illusions, all three of them will go off at the 117 low weight in this handicap. Bonkers has four wins in sixteen starts, but most of that past history comes while running on the grass. Only one of those wins is a stake win as well, that being a smaller Grade 3 (Dowager at KEE), so she is also still looking for that true signature win to be able to put on her resume. The Alabama last year was the only race of her career on the main track, and she was decent in it. Once again, when she tries the dirt, she goes big with it.

#5- K T D (Aer Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- The winner of the 2017 KYO still has not won another graded stake since then, and her recent performances at this level have not been terribly impressive. The trainer has tried getting her a couple confidence boosters in optional claimers, and she has been able to win each of those races. The first time, she was unable to follow up such a win with a strong start, and this will be the first race since her second optional claiming win since the KYO. She gets a good test here as she tries again to show that she can still compete against the best in the division.

#6- Fit To Be Tied (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by R J Albarado)- At this time last year, she was running second in a $14.000 maiden claimer. She has come a long way, which includes TwinTowers scooping her up in a $20.000 claimer in February, one race after she had been dropped all the way to a free track claimer. TwinTowersRacing took her off the grass, where she had been running most of her career, took off the shadow roll, and cut her distance slightly, and got better results. Those results led to her graded stake debut in her last start, the Grade 3Bed o Roses at BEL, where she ran second. This is the longest distance she has attempted.

#7- Osmium (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by C J Lanerie)- This four year old filly by Copper Bottom has an impressive six wins in 15 starts, with eleven overall in the money finishes. With her, there is no backing down into lower races or confidence boosters, as she has thrived with a steady diet of graded stakes. Her last two wins have been in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis, coming in her last start, at CD, as well as the Grade 2 La Canada Stakes. There is really nothing bad that one can say about this horse, except, perhaps, that she has yet to string back to back wins together in her career. In four of her last five starts that she has not won, she has been within a length. That reminds me of Laffin Parrot in the Suburban last week. The problem here is that she is the highweight, at 122 pounds.

#8- Jesse The Stewardess (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by D E Centeno)- Lightly raced four year old, with just five starts. Two have been wins. Her last two starts have seen her beaten by a combined 31 lengths, but perhaps she just did not like the off tracks in those two starts. Well, if she is here, then the trainer is likely completely convinced that is the reason why. She worked well here in late June at a mile, and I do think that she will like this ten furlong distance. Tough assignment, though, for a still unproven horse.

#9- Raven Rock (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by K Carmouche)- This one certainly has not had a conventional career to this point. After two failures to break her maiden in a maiden race, she attempted a FL-bred stake. Nothing extremely unusual about that if you believe in your horse, but after that non-win, she was back in maidens for two races, which she also did not win. Despite that, she went into an allowance in her last start, and won it. Not the traditional racing career path. Now, she is here, so we’ll see how it goes. If bloodlines have anything to say about it, hers are fantastic, as she is by the great Cherokee Sunset, who needs no introduction. She is also out of Hydro, a three time graded winner.

#10- Misscarlet (Broken Spoke Stables, ridden by R Chirinos)- This filly has won three of 15 races in her career so far, and recently lit up the board at 211/1 at the Grade 3 Adoration Stakes at SA. There were some quality horses that she was able to defeat in that smaller field, and she followed it up well with a second place showing to Osmium in the Fleur de Lis. She is peaking right now, as she seems to enjoy being returned to the main track after a string of races that were on the grass. Unfortunately, that Adoration win sees her have to go off here at 120 pounds, one of the bigger weights in the race. I’d like to have seen her at an equal weight to the rest of the field, but she still can contend here.

#11- On The Jersey Shore (Spankys Barn, ridden by A Cintron)- She won’t be too far from the Jersey shore in this race! She has a solid three year old campaign last year with a pair of wins that included the Grade 3 Maple Leaf at WO last November. But when the trainer was hoping for her to build on that this year, she has been unable to do so. On The Jersey Shore is winless in four 2018 starts, but like a couple others here, all she has been seeing lately is off tracks. Needs a strong performance here, and the proximity to the Jersey shore can only be a good thing.

Prediction: 3-7-2-10

— NS

Categories: Grade II, STAKES ARTICLES

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