Rail Runner

The Observations of a Horse Racing Enthusiast

Delaware Handicap to Ladies Classic

Posted by Brian Appleton on July 12, 2011

The Delaware Handicap was first run in 1937 and went for six straight years until 1943 when the race was not run. Since then it has been contested every year since 1944 making 2011 the 67th consecutive running and 73rd overall. That’s a lot of history and tradition to stack up to, and with great names like Miss Grillo, Busanda and Susan’s Girl listed among the winners, it’s a Grade 2 race that commands great respect and carries a lot of weight on a filly’s resume.

This Saturday Champion Blind Luck and Havre de Grace will square off against each other in the Delaware Handicap for the sixth time, continuing what has become one of the most exciting and competitive rivalries in recent history. Ultimately both fillies are chasing after the division championship and perhaps even Horse of the Year. To attain that goal they will most likely have to show up at the Breeders’ Cup in the fall at Churchill Downs and prove their worth yet again.

Since its inception in 1984, the Breeders’ Cup has instantly become one of the greatest sports spectacles in the world of thoroughbred horse racing, and especially American racing. The Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic, the premier event for fillies and mares at the Breeders’ Cup, was formerly known as the Breeders’ Cup Distaff from 1984-2007. In 26 running’s of the Ladies Classic/Distaff only nine winners of the Delaware Handicap have stepped into the starting gate to contest the Breeders’ Cup.

In 1984 Adored put together a 13 race campaign that started in early January and lasted until early November. She won four consecutive starts including the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational to begin her year, and then seventh in the Apple Blossom Handicap (gr.1) before winning two more consecutive Grade 2’s. After finishing second in her next three consecutive starts, one grade 1 and two grade 2’s, she captured the Delaware Handicap. Adored next finished third in the Ruffian Handicap as her final prep before the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She ultimately finished third behind a powerhouse effort by Princess Rooney.

Nastique won the 1988 and 1989 Delaware Handicap but didn’t contest the Breeders’ Cup in 1988. During her twelve race, 1989 campaign, the Naskra mare captured just one start; the Delaware Handicap, and finished on the board just three times. She finished a dull 7th in the 1989 Distaff behind super-mare Bayakoa. [Read the complete post here on Distaff Runner at Horse Racing Nation]



2 Responses to “Delaware Handicap to Ladies Classic”

  1. Cavey Troll said

    Hi Brian, I too read a book 31 years ago when I was going to a hospital for some surgery and expected to be laid up for some time. I had the good fortune to live along side the Monmouth race track at one time but as luck would have it I was not a racing enthusiast yet and didn’t even watch a race. Anyway as I was saying I picked a book that was ” How to handicap a horse race” by a guy named “Ainsley” . I fell in love with the numbers. The logic the breeding and the angles of the sport. My only problem is no mater what I try I can never get any of the trainers to read the book to any of the horses so they just don’t know how they’re supposed to behave.

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