01/03/2015 7:29PM

Delaunay turns tables on Heitai in Bonapaw Stakes

Hodges Photography/Lynn Roberts
Delaunay, under James Graham, runs down pacesetter Heitai in the off-the-turf Bonapaw.

Last spring, when Heitai got the jump on Delaunay in the Duncan Kenner Stakes at Fair Grounds, it was lights out. Delaunay never could catch Heitai and finished second by five lengths. But in the 10 months since, either Heitai has gotten a little worse or Delaunay, now 8, is a little better, because Saturday at Fair Grounds it was Delaunay up in the final strides of the $60,000 Bonapaw Stakes to beat Heitai by a neck.

The Bonapaw was carded for turf but was rained onto dirt. Delaunay ran 5 1/2 furlongs in 1:04.34 and paid $3.80 to win as the favorite. Bet Seattle finished another 3 1/4 lengths back in third. Gantry and El Seventyseven were scratched.

Heitai broke one stall outside Delaunay but outquicked him to the lead, crossing over to the rail within the first furlong. Delaunay and James Graham tracked on the outside, keeping Bet Seattle bottled up behind the lead pair through fractions of 22.12 and 45.24 seconds. At the top of the stretch, Heitai wasn’t stopping and Delaunay wasn’t gaining, but by the eighth pole, Delaunay was eating into the lead. 

“The last four or five jumps, he was like, ‘Oh yeah, we can do this,’ ” Graham said.

That determination was visible to onlookers. Delaunay had his ears up, racing attentively, digging down to try and catch his rival. He did not look like a one-dimensional speed horse, though Delaunay typically is the chased, not the chaser.  

“I think the world of him,” said Tom Amoss, who trains Delaunay for owner Maggi Moss. “Delaunay rarely wins his races running someone down at the end of a race. We took him out of his game a little.”

Delaunay, a gelding by Smoke Glacken, won for the 18th time in 47 starts. He has earned more than $1 million, most of it since Moss and Amoss claimed him for $40,000 in May 2012.


Rosemarie Cola More than 1 year ago
Amoss has said his horse has the biggest heart of any horse he has trained and that says alot. Maybe others should be congratulating Delaunany for his brave race and cut the others a break.
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Ms. Cola, kindly note the article which contains the quote you attribute to Mr. Amoss. I will state that in 7 starts at Fair Grounds Delaunay has 6 wins and a second. I will also note that he has posted Beyer figures of 109, 110, 104, 93(2nd), and 111 in his 5 starts at FG prior to the Bonapaw(where I am sure he will earn another big figure). Very impressive. A horse for the course. All those big figures earned in the state of Louisiana. But almost a statistical anomaly. Kudos nonetheless for managing a horse who after 48, yes forty-eight races, earns his highest Beyer figure at the age of almost 8! Amazing. Cardmania and Elmhurst are the oldest BC Sprint winners at the age of 7. This is Bet On Sunshine/Kona Gold territory. The other elderly graded stakes winners, Musketier, John Henry, John's Call, Super Diamond and the Tin Man were routers. That's it for me on this race. The results of Ms. Moss and Mr. Amoss speak for themselves.
Ian GW More than 1 year ago
That Black Gold 5 wont get hit with them small fields. I keep watching and waiting for a realistic shot.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
Coby. Rode like a bad joke
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Perhaps the result would have been the same and it is possible he was riding to orders but Mr. Hernandez aboard Heitai never turned his stick over to whip his mount. By contrast Jamie "Bobblehead" Graham was very aggressive in his use of the whip on Delaunay the entire stretch. Both curious to my head and painful to my bankroll. IMO, without further explanation, the ride bordered on incompetence.
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
I also played Heitai yesterday....now given colby hernandez has had close to 8000 career mounts , I would refrain from calling the ride incompetent.....so I watched the replays of heitais 3 prior losses when he blew huge leads and with the riders whipping and driving he STOPPED so a better explanation might be that the trainer told the rider to not use the whip as the horse resents it and stops running.........If you watch this horses losses , much like yesterday , he runs as fast as he can until the needle hits empty
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
I did say he might be "riding to orders." As to his having rode 8,000 races, this is not dispositive as to an incompetent ride. Mr. Shoemaker was an accomplished jockey when he rode Gallant Man in the Derby. This experience does not obviate the fact that he rose prematurely in the saddle at the 1/16th pole giving the race to Iron Liege. I am a Heitai fan and when Saenz was all over him in the last 1/8th and he was still picked up I watched the head on and noted he did not bear in or bore out from the whipping. He continued to run straight. Most if not ALL good horses will respond positively to the whip. If your claim is correct Mr. Hernandez should have rode without a whip so his hands and heels approach was not impeded by the necessity of carrying an instrument he wasn't going to use(like a jock riding his or her first 5 races). I commend your defense of Mr. Hernandez but you have not changed my opinion regarding his ride yesterday. I do note, perhaps out of desperation, he did try to hit Heitai underhanded a couple times the last 30 yards or so. Not a very effective way to whip a horse. I wonder how Heitai would have responded to the right hand cracks of the now retired Mr. Dominguez???
Laura More than 1 year ago
Marc, do you have any idea how evil you look, advocating that a horse should've been whipped so you could make a few bucks?
Marc Estrich More than 1 year ago
Laura, this is a sport. It is called horse racing. These are not pets. They are athletes. The sport horse racing involves the whipping of horses. I believe they have been whipping horses for several thousand years. As well as oxen. And camels. Neither of those two animals are pets either. Do you have any idea how ignorant you look with the content of your comment? I advise you limit your future posts to publications like Cat Fancy and Gerbils Illustrated who concentrate on the coverage of pets. You are certainly within your first amendment rights to hold and express your ignorant opinions but you clearly know very little about thoroughbred horse racing IMO! In conclusion I would rather be branded(another pun as cattle are not pets either) evil than ignorant, judgmental and ill informed.