Exotics Plays for the 2023 Delaware Handicap

July 6th, 2023

A compact, but very good, field of six fillies and mares will travel 1 3/16 miles over the main oval in Saturday’s lucrative $500,000 Delaware H. (G2). The cast features multiple lightly raced sorts that have impressed to date and appear to have room for improvement going forward.

I don’t believe that #2 Battle Bling (6-1) is the most talented contender in the field, but the Rob Atras trainee loves to run long and could benefit as much as any horse in the contest at the extended trip on Saturday. This Grade 3 heroine was a distant second in the affair over a sloppy surface in 2022, but she comes in fresh for this outing and could be sitting on a big effort off the strength of a string of fine morning moves.

Battle Bling has tactical speed combined with an advantageous post draw near the rail, and I expect her to sit a fine voyage while saving ground under Angel Cruz. The Vancouver five-year-old will likely go postward at a solid price, too.

#3 Idiomatic (7-5) has won or placed in each of her eight races to date and is a must-use for conditioner Brad Cox. The Curlin four-year-old was runner-up in the Ruffian S. (G2) two back at one turn, prior to leading throughout in an impressive tally in the Shawnee S. (G3) at Churchill Downs last time out. The Juddmonte homebred appears to be the pace of the race, and she will be a difficult beat if she clears the cast in the early going. Florent Geroux coming in to ride is a major positive.

#5 Classy Edition (7-2) is clearly talented enough to beat a field of this caliber, but I do have minor concerns about the Todd Pletcher pupil enduring the distance on this occasion. The New York-bred daughter of Classic Empire boasts a fine 9-6-1-0 career mark and was last seen cruising home a sharp winner of the Critical Eye S. at Belmont Park in her second try off the shelf. This bay filly wouldn’t be a surprise if she thrives at the trip under the guidance of Kendrick Carmouche.

Delaware Handicap wagers

$10 exacta box: 2, 3 ($20)

$6 exacta box: 2, 5 ($12)

$2 trifecta box: 2, 3, 5 ($12)

$1.50 trifecta 2, 3 with 2, 3, 5 with 2, 3, 5, 6 ($12)

$.50-cent superfecta: 2,3 with 2, 3, 5 with 2, 3, 5, 6 with all ($12)