Whisper Hill Farm’s homebred Graceful Princess will try to follow in the footsteps of her dam, 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace , when she heads to post for the $100,000 Obeah Stakes June 9 at Delaware Park. The 1 1/16-mile affair for fillies and mares is a local prep for the track’s summer classic—the 1 1/4-mile Delaware Handicap (G2) July 10.
A 5-year-old daughter of Tapit trained by Todd Pletcher, Graceful Princess enters off her first stakes placing. She led through most of the 1 1/16-mile Baird Doubledogdare Stakes (G3) April 16 at Keeneland and was collared late by graded stakes winners Bonny South and Royal Flag to finish third beaten a neck.
Havre de Grace, whose race owner, Rick Porter of Fox Hill Farm, died at 80 June 6, won the 2011 running of the Obeah (then a grade 3) and was runner-up in that year’s Delaware Handicap. After the Del ‘Cap she won the Woodward Stakes (G1) and Beldame Invitational Stakes (G1) en route to Horse of the Year and champion older mare titles.
Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm purchased Havre de Grace for $10 million in 2012 from the Taylor Made Sales Agency consignment to The November Sale, Fasig-Tipton’s premier breeding stock sale. Graceful Princess is her third foal.
Irad Ortiz Jr. was named aboard Graceful Princess Wednesday but is currently injured, necessitating a rider switch on race day. The mare drew post 12 among the 14 entries and was installed as the 9-2 morning-line second choice.
Miss Marissa (right) wins the 2020 Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico Race Course
The fillies and mares that finish first through fourth in the Obeah will automatically earn a free nomination to the Del ‘Cap.
Ken Copenhaver’s Queen Nekia was installed as the 7-2 morning-line favorite, but the Saffie Joseph Jr. trainee is likely to scratch. She. She ran fourth in the Ogden Phipps Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park June 5. WinStar Stablemates Racing’s Crystal Ball , the 5-1 third choice, will bypass the Obeah for the June 26 Lady Jacqueline Stakes at Thistledown, according to a Tweet from WinStar Stablemates director Mary Cage. Crystal Ball has won her two starts at the allowance level this year.
Also entered is Robert Slack and Daniel Walters’ Bajan Girl , who receives some class relief after finishing fourth in the La Troienne Stakes Presented by Twinspires.com (G1) April 30 at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old Speightstown filly trained by Rohan Crichton is twice graded stakes-placed at Gulfstream Park, finishing third in both the Dec. 12 Rampart Stakes (G3) and Feb. 20 Royal Delta Stakes (G3), the latter won by Queen Nekia.
Last fall’s George E. Mitchell Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) winner Miss Marissa , owned by Cammarota Racing, makes her first start since Jan. 17 when she was caught late to finish second beaten less than a length in the Ladies Handicap at Aqueduct Racetrack. James Ryerson trains the 4-year-old daughter of He’s Had Enough .
Delaware Park, Wednesday, June 09, 2021, Race 8
- 1 1/16m
- 3 yo’s & up Fillies and Mares
- 4:45 PM (local)