Sep 2nd 2008 01:02 am |
The Delaware Valley played host to a rare double of solid stakes races this past weekend. On Saturday, Adriano won the Grade 3 Kent Stakes for three-year-olds on the turf at Delaware Park. On Monday at Philadelphia Park, Anak Nakal beat a full field of three-year-olds in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby.
The PA Derby drew a competitive field and attracted an enthusiastic crowd to Philly Park. Anak Nakal – after spending his entire three-year-old season as an also ran – closed with a rush to win his first race since the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last November. Acai, after putting away eventual third place finisher Smooth Air, appeared to have the race won in deep stretch but was caught at the wire (costing Mrs. Colin’s Ghost a big exacta).
The Kent Stakes at Delaware Park attracted four runners who last competed in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame at Saratoga (8/4). Adriano – beaten a length in the Hall of Fame – picked up his first stakes win on turf with a strong finish under Kent Desormeaux. Deal Making who ran a tough second at Saratoga went off as the post time favorite and finished sixth under “Del Park King” Ramon Dominguez. While bettors focused on the horses shipping from Saratoga, it was the Jersey Derby run on Haskell day at Monmouth Park that produced the second and third place finishers at huge odds (Roman Tiger, 53-1 and Mr. Maccoll, 18-1).
Here are some photographs from the Labor Day weekend:
Delaware Park – Kent Stakes – August 30, 2008
Adriano in the Delaware Park paddock before the Kent Stakes
Winner of the 2008 Kent Stakes
Kent Desormeaux and Adriano into the winner’s circle
Philadelphia Park – Pennsylvania Derby – September 1, 2008
The crowd around the paddock before the Pennsylvania Derby
The 2008 PA Derby winner Anak Nakal with “Jersey Joe” Bravo aboard
Acai (14) being led into the paddock. The IEAH runner nearly pulled it off but was caught at the wire by Anak Nakal.
Smooth Air being led by trainer Bennie Stutts
Smooth Air finished third behind Anak Nakal and Acai
An interesting closing weekend at Saratoga with Curlin, Mani Bhavan, and Vineyard Haven taking the last of the three big stakes. I loved Cribnote in the Hopeful and would have cashed a ticket had he managed to make the turn. With his roundabout but strong finish, I think he might be effective at longer distances. Mani Bhavan is becoming a favorite of mine. She came home painfully slow in the Spinaway but has showed a great deal of talent in her three wins and I am looking forward to watching her development.
As I said last week, Monday was my first visit to Philly Park since they put in the slot machines. I found their effect on the venue as a racing facility appalling. At Philly Park the slots have swallowed the racing. On arrival, I asked an attendant how to get to the racing facilities and he sent me to the 5th floor. When I realized this led me to the simulcasting area and the indoor grandstand, I had to ask again how to get trackside and was told: “First floor.” Upon reaching the 1st floor, I had to ask yet again as the evil SOBs who design slot facilities don’t believe in windows or any thing else that might distract the drones from feeding the machines. Philly Park has done a tremendous disservice to horseplayers. I realize the slots are the big money maker but it is possible to add “brainless-gaming” without overwhelming the racing facility. Delaware Park did a decent job of integrating the slot machines without killing the racing environment. In fact, if you go to Del Park and enter on the paddock side it is possible to enjoy the races (simulcast and live) without ever seeing a slot machine. Del Park has three floors of simulcasting, a number of excellent places to watch the live racing, and a beautiful paddock/picnic area so it has retained some of its historical charm as a racetrack in spite of the dank slot parlor that now occupies much of the space.
Back to Belmont for New York racing and Owner’s Day at Delaware Park this weekend.
Thanks for reading and good luck!
Filed in Delaware Park,Kent Stakes 2008,Pennsylvania Derby 2008,Philadelphia Park