Second by a head to Close Hatches last time out in the June 7 Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont Park, multiple Grade 1 winner Princess of Sylmar seeks a rebound July 12 in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park.
The 2013 Longines Kentucky Oaks victress should have her way in a field of six, with no other Grade 1 winners entered and with additional bottom added to her form after that powerful Ogden Phipps closing run. The 1 1/16-mile Ogden Phipps was her first return to top-level competition for trainer Todd Pletcher this year; she started her season with an easy April 6 score in the one-mile Cat Cay Stakes at Belmont after resting from a sixth-place Breeders' Cup Distaff disappointment at Santa Anita Park.
Stretching out to the 1 ¼ miles of the Del 'Cap should put the 4-year-old daughter of Majestic Warrior back into her wheelhouse; she won the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga Race Course last summer going that far as part of a four-race win streak in Grade 1 races for breeder Ed Stanco's King of Prussia Stable. None of the others entered have attempted the 1 ¼-mile distance before.
Regular rider Javier Castellano will be in the irons aboard Princess of Sylmar in her third start of the year; she drew the outside and carries high weight of 123 pounds as the even-money favorite on the morning line.
Stepping up to challenge the top choice are two in search of their initial Grade 1 victory; Fleur De Lis Handicap upset winner Molly Morgan and runner-up Flashy American.
Molly Morgan, a 5-year-old daughter of Ghostzapper who races for W.D. Cubbedge and trainer Dale Romans, slipped through in the 1 ⅛-mile Fleur De Lis on June 14 at Churchill Downs and widened away to a 4-length score at odds of 10-1. It was her first graded stakes triumph and her first win since a November allowance last season at the Louisville oval.
Flashy American, racing for Preston Stables and trainer Ken McPeek, closed willingly after racing far back and angling six wide heading into the stretch, but could not catch the winner. The 5-year-old daughter of Flashy Bull won the Sixty Sails Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course in the spring and also has three minor stakes to her credit from last year -- Churchill's Locust Grove at 1 1/16 miles, Saratoga's Alada Stakes going 1 ⅛ miles, and the 1 1/16-mile Iowa Distaff Stakes at Prairie Meadows.
In her only other Grade 1 start, Flashy American was fourth in the Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita last September. She will be ridden by Alex Cintron from post 2 and carries 118 pounds as the 7-2 second choice on the morning line, while Molly Morgan gets the services of Corey Lanerie under 119 from the 3 hole.
Chasing Tail Stables' Gamay Noir comes off a recent win at Delaware, having taken the June 14 Obeah Stakes by half a length with a strong closing bid. Trained by Marty Wolfson, the 4-year-old Harlan's Holiday filly also won the March 29 Rampart Stakes at Gulfstream Park going the same distance over Grade 2 winner Unlimited Budget. Daniel Centeno rides from post 4 as part of a 116-pound impost.
Barry and Joni Butzow's contender Bryan's Jewel won the Obeah in 2013, but has not seen the winner's circle in nine starts since then. The 6-year-old Rockport Harbor mare was third last time out in the 1 1/16-mile Justakiss Stakes at Delaware on June 5. The 112-pound lightweight will have Jevian Toledo aboard from the 5 hole.
Completing the field is allowance winner Belle Gallantey, a 5-year-old daughter of After Market who is trained by Rudy Rodriguez for Michael Dubb, Bethlehem Stables, and Gary Aisquith. She was fifth of six at odds of 25-1 in the Ogden Phipps last out, her first start in a graded event.