07/31/2014 11:35AM

Delaunay vulnerable in Byrd Memorial Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Delaunay, who finished fifth in the Churchill Downs Stakes, could be vulnerable once again when he starts Saturday in the Sen. Robert Byrd Memorial Stakes on the West Virginia Derby undercard at Mountaineer.

A 3 1/2-length win in the Grade 3 Aristides Stakes at Churchill Downs two starts ago and a $1 million bankroll are sufficient reasons to stamp Delaunay as the favorite in the Sen. Robert Byrd Memorial Stakes, one of five $100,000 dirt sprint stakes on the West Virginia Derby undercard Saturday at Mountaineer.

But given that the 7-year-old Delaunay could do no better than fourth when he ran in this same six-furlong race two years ago, and the horses he beat in the Aristides went 0 for 5 in their next starts, it might be worthwhile to search for a better price in the 12-horse field.

Viable options include Star Harbour, who won locally by nearly seven lengths with a 99 Beyer Speed Figure a month ago, and Res Judicata, 2 for 2 to launch his 4-year-old campaign.

Russell Road, elevated to first via disqualification in last year’s Byrd, and longshot Lucy’s Bob Boy are expected to scratch in favor of a $30,000 allowance Friday night at their home track, Charles Town.

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Byrd Memorial Stakes (Race 6)

Key contenders

Delaunay (Last 3 Beyers: 102-99-90)

Formulator Facts: Trainer Tom Amoss is 1 for 10 shipping to Mountaineer for stakes. On the plus side, Amoss is 7 for 27 (26 percent) with 4-year-olds and up returning from a layoff of 31 to 60 days in dirt sprints. That includes a 2-for-5 record with Delaunay.

Star Harbour (Last 3 Beyers: 99-60-80)

** Trainer Joe Woodard is winning at a 41 percent clip at Mountaineer this season.

Ghost Is Clear (Last 3 Beyers: 98-94-96)

Formulator Fact: Trainer Mike Maker is 2 for 15 (13 percent) in stakes at Mountaineer.

** Beaten 7 1/4 lengths by Delaunay in 2013 at Fair Grounds.

Res Judicata (Lasts 3 Beyers: 86-102-93)

Formulator Fact: Trainer John Servis is 4 for 19 (21 percent) with last-out winners coming back in dirt-sprint non-graded stakes.

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Secretary of State Stakes (Race 3)

The list of contenders in this six-furlong sprint for fillies and mares includes the 2012 winner, Sweet Cassiopeia; Flattering Bea, the runner-up in the 2013 running; and Winning Image, the 7-year-old mare who has won five stakes over the past two seasons.

Key contenders

Winning Image (Last 3 Beyers: 86-90-87)

** Consistent mare is 13 for 29 lifetime.

Formulator Fact: Trainer Mike Aro’s record with female dirt sprinters returning from a layoff of 31 to 60 days is 7 for 55 (13 percent).

Flattering Bea (Last 3 Beyers: 68-91-87)

** Second in this race last year, but her only two career stakes wins have come at her home track, Charles Town.

Sweet Cassiopeia (Last 3 Beyers: 71-96-88)

** Her last win going six furlongs was in the 2012 running of this race by 4 1/4 lengths.

Anahauc (Last 3 Beyers: 78-59-100)

** Beyer Speed Figures have declined sharply since she posted the two best figures of her career (102, 100) in March and April.

Other undercard sprints

** Uncle Todd, claimed for $8,000 in January, figures to go favored coming off a career-best 107 Beyer against 10 rivals in the West Virginia Legislature Chairman’s Cup at 4 1/2 furlongs. His rivals include Jasizzle, who was disqualified after finishing first by 7 3/4 lengths in last year’s six-furlong Byrd Memorial.

** A. P.’s Glory, who earned a 92 Beyer for winning her career debut at Arlington, will try to transfer her Polytrack form to dirt in the six-furlong Mountaineer Juvenile Fillies (race 4).

** Gotta Get Paid and Tapitsphere, who each overcame trouble at the start to win their maidens, are prime contenders in the six-furlong Mountaineer Juvenile (race 1).