08/31/2001 11:00PM

Bailey key in 'Delaware' score


SARATOGA SPRINGS, Fla. - Delaware Township parlayed a lightning-fast pace and the hot hand of leading rider Jerry Bailey into a 1 1/4-quarter length victory over an unlucky Left Bank in Saturday's Grade 1, $250,000 Forego Handicap. The win was the first of two major victories on the afternoon for trainer Ben Perkins Jr. and his principal owner, the New Farm, who minutes later won Monmouth Park's Grade 3 Sorority Stakes with Forest Heiress.

Delaware Township rated off the suicidal pace of Wake at Noon, Bonapaw, and Hook and Ladder - who dueled through fractions of 21.74 and 44.18 seconds for the opening quarter and half-mile. Bailey kept Delaware Township wide and, more importantly, out of trouble as the 5-year-old began to gather momentum midway on the turn. He collared the tiring leaders approaching the eighth pole, edged clear, then maintained a safe advantage over Left Bank.

Left Bank was forced to steady when lacking room in both upper stretch and midstretch before finishing with good energy once clear. He checked home three-quarters of a length before Alannan, who was knocked around in upper stretch and remained blocked until it was too late.

The victory was the second of three on the day for Bailey, who earlier eclipsed his own Saratoga record for wins by a jockey in a meet. It was also Bailey's record-setting 12th stakes victory of the meet.

Delaware Township paid $7.30 as the favorite in a field of nine sprint specialists. His final time for 6 1/2 furlongs was 1:15.53 over a fast track. Say Florida Sandy was a late scratch.

"The early pace had as much to do with it as anything," said Perkins. "He had a little longer to settle in and came on nicely. When he got to the lead he jumped to his left lead but picked it up again when he heard the horses coming."

Perkins said Delaware Township could make his next start in the $250,000 Forest Hills at Belmont on Oct. 9.

Left Bank trainer Todd Pletcher was pleased despite his horse's second-place finish.

"He had a rough trip but really fired through adversity and showed a new dimension coming from off the pace the way he did today," Pletcher said.