Updated on 09/17/2011 11:00AM

Del 'Cap Act 2 for Wild Spirit

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Trainer Mark Hennig is pleased with Summer Colony's progress despite the fact that she has yet to reach the triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure level she hit with regularity last year.

In her first North American start, Wild Spirit demolished a field that included three Grade 1 winners, taking the Grade 2 Shuvee Handicap at Belmont Park on May 17 by a widening 3 1/2 lengths.

For an encore, the Chilean-bred Wild Spirit will attempt to beat three more Grade 1 winners when she runs in Sunday's Grade 2, $750,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park. The Del 'Cap, which will be shown live on ESPN2 from 5-6 p.m. Eastern, tops an 11-race card at Delaware that includes three other stakes races.

In the Shuvee, Wild Spirit defeated Grade 1 winners You, Raging Fever, and Nonsuch Bay, as well as Smok'n Frolic, and covered one mile in 1:34.51 in her first start in five months. Sunday, coming off a nine-week layoff, Wild Spirit will take on a field that includes defending Delaware Handicap winner Summer Colony, Take Charge Lady, and Mandy's Gold, and will stretch out to 1 1/4 miles, a distance she won at in Chile.

In the Shuvee, Wild Spirit sat just behind the pace before taking over in upper stretch and drawing off with only a slap on the right shoulder and two cracks of Javier Castellano's left-handed whip. Jerry Bailey will ride Wild Spirit from post 2 on Sunday.

"I was surprised she was laying so close, so easily,' said Bobby Frankel, who trains Wild Spirit. "They were running fast fractions. Hopefully, she runs as good a race as last time. If she runs that race, she wins.'

About three weeks after the Shuvee, Wild Spirit came down with a case of the hives, forcing her to miss the Ogden Phipps Handicap.

"It's probably the best thing that happened to her; it gave her more time,' Frankel said.

Summer Colony overcame a traffic-filled trip to win last year's Del 'Cap by a neck over local hero Your Out. She went on to win the Grade 1 Personal Ensign before tailing off form in the fall. After the first real break of her career, Summer Colony has come back with a neck loss to Mandy's Gold in the Pimlico Distaff and a victory over a suspect group in the Grade 2 Molly Pitcher Handicap at Monmouth.

Though Summer Colony has yet to reach the triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure level she hit with regularity last year, trainer Mark Hennig has been pleased with her progress.

"She ran as well as I could have expected her that day, off of what she had done in her preparation,' Hennig said regarding the Pimlico Distaff. "I thought the other day she ran very well at Monmouth. I'm glad she didn't have to run any faster than she did. It's all part of keeping her fresh as the year goes on.'

As the 122-pound highweight, Summer Colony has to concede five pounds to Wild Spirit and two to Take Charge Lady. While displeased with the weight assignment, Hennig was happy to see Summer Colony draw outside in the eight-horse field.

Take Charge Lady, who has finished worse than second only twice in her 17-race career, makes her second start after overcoming a bruised foot. She set fast fractions in the Ogden Phipps Handicap before finishing second, five lengths behind Sightseek.

"The way the pace factor set up last time she needed the race pretty badly and I'm not surprised at all she got tired,' trainer Ken McPeek said. "There's definitely a lot of room for improvement out of that race.'

This will be Take Charge Lady's first attempt at 10 furlongs, something McPeek admits he is concerned about.

"Class can overcome,' McPeek said.

Like Take Charge Lady, Mandy's Gold will attempt 10 furlongs for the first time. Though Mandy's Gold has trained regularly at Delaware Park, this will be her first start over the track.

Completing the field are Devon Rose, who could pose problems for Take Charge Lady up front, Shiny Sheet, Jaramar Rain, and French Hideaway.