WILMINGTON, DE – Morsches Stable’s Gentle Ruler finished strongly in the stretch thanks to a rail-skimming ride that helped propel her past her tiring foes in Saturday’s $200,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes (G3) at Delaware Park.
Breaking from post 4 under Chris Landeros at 7/2 odds, Gentle Ruler saved ground in midpack while Steelin Magnolias led the way up front. The speedy pacesetter posted fractions of :23.12, :48.57, 1:12.79, and 1:37.17 while opening up by as many as 5 lengths.
Still unhurried as the field neared the top of the stretch, Gentle Ruler was held in wait until a hole appeared. Steelin Magnolias soon drifted out a lane and Landeros dove through the opening. Quickly taking command, the Ian Wilkes trainee began to clear away steadily in the stretch. Gentle Ruler crossed with a 2 3/4-length advantage in a final time of 2:13.70 for the 1 3/8-mile event over the firm turf course.
It was a mad dash for second, with Theodora B. necking out the even-money favorite Gaining for second, with Layla Noor another neck back in fourth. Vevina, Coachwhip, a spent Steelin Magnolias, and Osare completed the order of finish.
Gotham Gala was a main track only entry, Lemon Zip was a late scratch after flipping in the gate while other horses loaded, and Pamina was listed as a trainer scratch.
Gentle Ruler’s win was her fourth straight, starting with a maiden-breaking effort at Gulfstream Park before making similar trips to Keeneland for an allowance victory and Churchill Downs to take the $100,000 Keertana Overnight Stakes. The 4-year-old daughter of Colonel John improved her record to 15-4-3-5 with $340,053 earned.
“She has come a long way,” Wilkes said. “It took her a little while for her trainer to get her to break her maiden, but since we got that figured out, she has been brilliant. Seriously, the difference is that she had always been kind of a quirky filly. She always had to do everything with a pony. She could not go to the track without a pony and she could not back up without a pony. She just would not do anything without a pony. This year, she has matured and she is a much better filly because of it. It is as simple as that. She is really getting into a good niche here with her ability to relax. The thing that I noticed today that I really liked was the first time they went by, you could see her listening to Chris. She had her ears going back and forth and you could tell she was listening to him. We will probably run her next at Saratoga, but we want to make sure she is okay and comes out of this race in good shape first.”
Gentle Ruler returned $9.40 to win, $4.60 to place, and $2.60 to show. Theodora B. brought back $5.40 to place and $3.40 to show, while Gaining paid $2.20 to show.