04/21/2006 11:00PM

Delaware: Hello Liberty relishes slop


Hello Liberty, shipping up from Oaklawn Park following two sharp seconds, earned her first stakes victory in the $75,000 Peach Blossom on opening day at Delaware Park.

Sent off as the 5-2 second choice in a field reduced to five 3-year-old fillies following two late scratches at the gate, Hello Liberty moved alongside early pacesetter Lady of Summer approaching the turn and drew off by 3 1/2 lengths to give jockey Ramon Dominguez his third winner on the program. Hello Liberty ($7.20), trained by Larry Jones, covered the six furlongs on a sloppy track in 1:10.62.

Amandatude, coupled in the betting with Lady of Summer, overtook her stablemate by a neck to gain second.

Jones, who has a string of horses at Delaware this year for the first time, is now 2 for 2 at the track. He won last year's $1 million Delaware Handicap with Island Sand.

"We just set back and let them battle it out and then when one got tired, we went after the other one," Jones said. "We had a wonderful trip. It could not have worked out any better."

Celestial Legend, the 1-2 favorite, dueled for about a quarter-mile with Lady of Summer before giving way and fading to last. It was the first time Celestial Legend, who won six straight races to start her career, had finished worse than second.