WILMINGTON, DE – In her first attempt versus graded competition and going two turns, Cash is King and LC Racing’s Project Whiskey posted an upset victory in the $300,000 Delaware Oaks (G3) at Delaware Park.
With Frankie Pennington aboard, the daughter of Tapizar returned $79.80 as the longest shot in the field of eight. The Maryland-bred trained by Robert “Butch” Reid won by a 1/2-length and covered the mile and 1/16 in 1:44.04 over a fast main track.
Dream Marie, with Joe Bravo, finished second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of Princess Cadey, with Angel Cruz, in third. The 9/5 favorite, Piece of My Heart with Joe Talamo, cut early fractions of :47.28 for the 1/2-mile and 1:11.99 for 3/4 miles before finishing fourth.
The Delaware Oaks is part of the Road to the 2020 Kentucky Oaks prep race season. Project Whiskey earned 50 points for the win, with Dream Marie receiving 20 for second, Princess Cadey 10 for third, and Piece of My Heart 5 for fourth.
In her only other outing this year, Project Whiskey finished unplaced in a 6-furlong Churchill Downs allowance on May 25. Last year, she posted 2 victories out of 5 starts, including the 7-furlong Parx Juvenile Filly Stakes.
“I am glad we went down to Churchill to get that race in her which set her up perfectly for this,” Reid said. “I think this is what she has been waiting to do – to go a route ground. We are not sure where we are going to go next with her, but I am sure it will probably have the word ‘Oaks’ behind it. What exactly that race is, we are going to have to sit down with the owners to figure out. I am just happy to have this ownership group. They put up with a lot of my shenanigans and they went ahead and took the opportunity to run in this race with this nice filly, so I got to give them a lot of the credit.”
Winning jockey Frankie Pennington was impressed with her tenacity.
“Going into the race, Butch had her unbelievable,” Pennington said. “It was a real gutsy effort for my filly, especially because it was her first time going two turns. She broke sharp and put us in a good position. When (Dream Marie) came towards us just before the 1/4 pole, I asked her and she fought back on. The more we were staying together with (Dream Marie), the more she just kept fighting and she gutted it out.”