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Bonny South Tops Delaware Handicap
Bonny South (Credit: Keeneland Photo)

Bonny South Tops Delaware Handicap

WILMINGTON, DE – Juddmonte Farms homebred Bonny South tops the 84th renewal of the $400,000 Delaware Handicap (G3) at Delaware Park on Saturday.

The annual filly and mare summer classic attracted a field of seven, and after being shortened to a mile and 1/8 last year due to the pandemic, the race will return to the traditional distance of a mile and 1/4.

The Delaware Handicap has been carded as the ninth race with an approximate post time of 5:15 PM.

This year, the 4-year-old daughter of Munnings is 1 for 2. In her first outing in 2021, the Kentucky-bred trained by Brad Cox notched a head victory in the mile and 1/16 Doubledogdare (G3) at Keeneland on April 16. She followed by running second in the mile and 1/16 Ogden Phipps (G1) at Belmont Park on June 5. 

Last year, she had a record of 2 wins from 6 starts including a victory in the Fair Grounds Oaks (G2), plus a trio of seconds in the Alabama (G1) at Saratoga, the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2) at Pimlico, and the Falls City (G2) at Churchill Downs.

She has a career record of 4 wins and 4 seconds from 10 starts with earnings $692,150.

“She is doing well,” said trainer Brad Cox. “She is a solid horse. You never really have to make any excuses for her, and hopefully with a good trip on Saturday, she will get the job done. We have run her at Fair Grounds, Oaklawn, Pimlico, Keeneland, Saratoga, Belmont, and obviously Churchill, and she has run well each time, regardless of distance. She is just a consistent and solid filly.”

Bonny South will be arriving in Delaware towards the end of the week.

“She is going to ship to Monmouth,” Cox said.  “We are sending a little string to Monmouth and she will be part of that group.  From there, we are going to ship her to Delaware the day before or the day of the race, so she will be there Friday or Saturday.”

A solid effort in the Delaware Handicap will a punch a ticket for her to travel to upstate New York in August.

“If all goes well afterward, we will ship her to Saratoga and point for the Personal Ensign ([G1] on August 28),” Cox said.

Trainer Joseph Saffie Jr. has entered both Ken Copenhaver’s Queen Nekia and eFive Racing Thoroughbreds’ Gibberish.

It will be a homecoming for Queen Nekia, as the 6-year-old daughter of Harlington will be returning to the track where she has a main track career record of 5 wins, 2 seconds, and a third from 10 starts. The Florida-bred has not raced at Delaware Park since her Delaware Certified Horse of the Year campaign in 2019.

In her 2021 debut, she posted a 1 3/4-length score in the mile and 1/16 Royal Delta (G3) at Gulfstream Park on February 20. Since then, she had a pair of fourth-place efforts in the Top Flight Invitational at Aqueduct on April 10 and the Ogden Phipps. She has a career record of 10 wins, 6 seconds, and 7 thirds from 34 starts with earnings of $528,876.

“She has run well at Delaware in the past, so hopefully she will run well again on Saturday,” said Joseph Jr. “She was a proven solid filly before we claimed her back in December 2019 and she has gotten even better. She has done more than we could have ever asked for.”

Gibberish has a career mark of 4 wins, a second, and a third from 11 starts with earnings of $170,310. In her most recent, the 4-year-old daughter of Lea ran second in the mile and 1/16 Lady’s Secret at Monmouth on June 6.

“Gibberish is also coming into the race well,” Joseph Jr. said. “She has won a stake, she beat Queen Nekia once and Queen Nekia beat her, and she is coming off a good run at Monmouth. We feel like the mile and 1/4 fits her nicely as well and are expecting a solid effort from her.”

Dream Marie, Saracosa, Miss Marissa, and Final Cut complete the field for the Delaware Handicap.

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