ELMONT, NY – Peter Brant’s Dunbar Road put on a scintillating performance, easily winning Saturday’s $400,000 Delaware Handicap (G2) at Delaware Park.
Breaking from post 2 as the 1/5 favorite under Irad Ortiz, Jr., Dunbar Road saved ground heading into the clubhouse turn and raced just off of the heels of early leader Bellera.
Tipped out to run three wide midway through the far turn, Dunbar Road straightened for home with a clear advantage and was hand-ridden until the 1/16 pole, when she was geared down to a canter.
The Chad Brown trainee crossed 3 easy lengths the best in a final time of 1:49.02 for the 1 1/8-mile fast main track event.
“I got a perfect trip,” said Ortiz, Jr. “She broke really good; I was right behind the early speed right where I wanted to be. I wanted to save some ground and then I got her out. By the 3/8 pole, I started working my way out and I had no trouble, so I just got her clear and she responded. She responded very well.”
Saracosa took second by 1 length over Bellera, who headed Over Thinking for third. Wicked Awesome and Lucky Move completed the order of finish.
Two runners scratched after their connections opted to run in the Ruffian Stakes (G2): Vexatious (who finished second) and Always Shopping (fifth). Coincidentally, Brown trained the winners of both races.
Dunbar Road’s win was her second from as many starts this year and followed a similarly-dominating effort in the Shawnee Stakes at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old Quality Road filly improved her record to 9-6-1-1 with $998,040 earned and will likely plot out a return to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), where she finished fifth last year.
“This is a really nice filly,” said Ortiz, Jr. “You are going to hear a lot from her – trust me.”
Dunbar Road returned $2.40 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Saracosa brought back $3.20 to place and $2.10 to show, while Bellera paid $2.20 to show.