04/24/2009 11:00PM

Acting Zippy scores upset

Hoofprints Inc.
Acting Zippy, with David Cohen up, wins the Vincent Moscarelli by four lengths, paying $50.40.

STANTON, Del. - A Midwest-based trainer who followed racing secretary Pat Pope to Delaware Park landed the bulk of the $75,000 purse in Saturday's Vincent Moscarelli Stakes. But instead of Cody Autrey, Mike Stidham, or Ronny Werner, it was relatively unknown William Don Bennett who was smiling in the winner's circle following a four-length victory by Acting Zippy.

A versatile 4-year-old gelding who won a 5o1/2-furlong turf sprint at Fair Grounds in January and most recently was beaten a neck going 1 1/16 miles in the $100,000 Fifth Season at Oaklawn Park, Acting Zippy ($50.40) cut back to six furlongs for the Moscarelli.

Sitting third behind a blistering pace that saw Secretintelligence and Go Go Shoot battle through fractions of 21.35 and 43.76 seconds, Acting Zippy made a three-wide move on the turn, edged to a half-length lead at the eighth pole, and drew clear to give jockey David Cohen his third win of the day. The longest shot among nine older sprinters, Acing Zippy ran six furlongs in 1:08.37 in winning for the fifth time in 23 starts. Secretintelligence held on for second, three-quarters of a length in front of West Coast Flier, who nosed out Whistle Pig for third. Rollers never fired and finished seventh as the 5-2 favorite.

"He doesn't care," Bennett said about which distance or surface suits Acting Zippy best. "He runs every time.

"This was the first clean trip he's had. He does something from the eighth pole to the wire to get himself beat almost every time," said Bennett, who will have 15 horses at Delaware after spending last summer at Prairie Meadows and Ellis Park.

According to Bennett, Acting Zippy not only will run no matter what distance or surface, he also isn't the least bit picky about food.

"He likes doughnuts and tacos," Bennett said. "I've seen him take a hamburger right out of somebody's hand. He is worse then a buzzard."

Boosted by unseasonably warm temperatures in the low 80s, Delaware drew a huge crowd, estimated at 12,000 or more by a track official, for its season opener. Total handle also soared to $1,372,154, up 54.6 percent from last year's first-day program of nine races. Ontrack handle was $305,598, a 30 percent increase from 2008.

Caraballo does it again

Jockey Jose Caraballo clearly has a knack for getting off to a good start at Delaware.

For the fifth time since 2002, Caraballo won the first race of the season when he guided second-time starter Wanda Nevada ($3.80) to an 8o1/4-length romp in a sprint for 3-year-old maiden fillies.

Caraballo, a late replacement for Clinton Potts, rode four straight first-race winners on opening day from 2002 through 2005.

Turf racing begins Saturday

The first two turf races of the season are scheduled for next Saturday's card. The condition book lists a $30,000 claimer at 1 1/16 miles and a second-level allowance at one mile.

Last season, Delaware didn't conduct its first turf race until May 24, more than a month after the season began on April 19.

In an attempt to attract more grass runners, Delaware has added two new distances - 7 1/2 furlongs and a mile and 70 yards - for turf races this season.