WILMINGTON, DE – Morsches Stable’s Gentle Ruler successfully defended her title with a dominating performance in Saturday’s $125,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes (G3) at Delaware Park.
Once the 2019 champion broke from the gate as the heavy 1/5 favorite in this year’s edition, jockey Chris Landeros kept her inside to save ground. Gentle Ruler waited until the 3/8 pole to make her bid toward the front, skimming the rail and easily swallowing the pacesetting Tass.
Turning for home with a slight advantage over Tightly Twisted, Gentle Ruler responded sharply when asked and drove clear in the final stages. The Ian Wilkes trainee completed the 1 1/4-mile off-turf fast main track event in a final time of 2:06.51.
“I really did not know what to expect because of the dirt,” Landeros said. “She was drawing along nicely and I just tried to stay out of her way. There was a big gap on the inside at the 3/8 and I just glided her right through. She was just so game. I just had to hang on and point her in the right direction.”
Tightly Twisted was 11 lengths ahead of Saffron Spirit, with Shifra Magician and Tass completing the order of finish.
Beale Street, La Australiana, Mrs. Sippy, Not in Jeopardy, and Theodora B. were scratched.
Gentle Ruler’s win was her second straight following a Churchill Downs allowance score last month and her third at the graded stakes level, having taken last October’s Dowager Stakes (G3) at Keeneland. The 5-year-old Colonel John mare, at one point 0-for-11 in her career, improved that mark to 21-8-4-5 with $862,269 earned.
“I am really proud of her today because the dirt is not her surface, but sometimes we have to go to plan ‘B,’” Landeros said. “She handled everything beautifully. She is just a lot of class and a lot of fun. I am just happy to be a part of her team.”
Gentle Ruler returned $2.40 to win, $2.10 to place, and $2.10 to show. Tightly Twisted brought back $4 to place and $2.80 to show, while Saffron Spirit paid $6.20 to show.