ARISTIDES STAKES | PURSE: $112,900 | 3-YEAR-OLDS & UP | GRADE 3 | 6 FURLONGS
Hard-knocking Delaunay secured his second graded victory May 31 in the $112,900 Aristides Stakes, driving clear by 3 ½ lengths under Rosie Napravnik at Churchill Downs.
The 7-year-old Smoke Glacken runner rebounded from a tired fifth in the May 3 Churchill Downs Stakes for trainer Tom Amoss to handle six furlongs in 1:09.59 while earning his ninth stakes score overall.
Delaunay was claimed by owner Maggi Moss for $40,000 in May 2012 and has now banked a career total of $985,491 while putting up a record of 16-10-3 from 45 starts. The 2013 edition of the Churchill Downs was his other graded stakes win.
Restless in the gate against seven rivals, Delaunay broke alertly and was up quickly to contest the pace with Jasizzle, who ran a quarter in :21.86 seconds before succumbing to the eventual winner. Three wide, Delaunay began to open his advantage through a :44.96 seconds half and widened away down the stretch for five-eighths in :56.67 seconds while kept to the task.
"It was a great trip, just how we hoped it would pan out," Napravnik reported. "He's so great because he's so fast and has no problems sitting off of another horse. He really knows what he's doing and he just cruised home."
"It was one of those rare races that went the way we thought it would," Amoss said. "We had a little speed inside of us so we laid off of him and tried to increase our advantage on the turn. Once we did that, Delaunay's courage got very big turning for home and he was able to do the rest on his own."
The 2013 Aristides winner Scatman was clearly second-best under Julien Leparoux, while Captain Genius closed five wide to wind up 1 ¾ lengths back in third.
Delaunay returned $3.40, $2.80, and $2.40 while Scatman paid $5 and $3.40. Captain Genius brought $4.60, while Mico Margarita, Jasizzle, Voodoo Storm, Jake Mo, and Take It Like a Man completed the order of finish. Brewing scratched.
Bred in Maryland by Fitzhugh LLC out of the Coronado's Quest mare Perilous Night, Delaunay won the $57,600 F.W. Gaudin Memorial at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots earlier this season.
Napravnik scored a stakes double one race later when Vinery Stables' millionaire gelding Regally Ready, the winner of the 2011 Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, took the ninth running of the $64,907 Opening Verse, an overnight stakes for older horses.
The 7-year-old trained by Steve Asmussen beat Villandry by three-quarters of a length and ran 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:42.26. A Kentucky-bred son of More Than Ready, he paid $3.20 to win and improved his record to 13-2-6 from 33 starts for earnings of $1,423,518.
The Opening Verse often serves as a steppingstone to the $200,000-added Firecracker, which will be run at one mile over the Matt Winn Turf Course at Churchill on June 28.