05/21/2011 10:44AM

Delaware: History points to Rockaby Bay

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Hoofprints Inc.
Rockaby Bay (red cap), beaten a nose in his second start of 2010 after winning start No. 2 in 2007, 2008, and 2009, makes his second start of 2011 in Monday's feature at Delaware Park.

If you believe in patterns or that history tends to repeat itself, then Rockaby Bay is due to win Monday’s feature at Delaware Park, a second-level optional $40,000 claimer scheduled for a mile and 70 yards on turf.

Every year since 2007, the now 8-year-old Rockaby Bay has run exceptionally well in a turf race while making his second start following an extended layoff.

A year ago, Rockaby Bay’s second start of the season resulted in a nose loss in a 7 1/2-furlong allowance at Delaware. In 2009, he romped by three lengths going a mile at Colonial Downs in a prep for his four-length score in the Kitten's Joy. Rockaby Bay also won the second start of his form cycle in 2008 and 2007.

To support Rockaby Bay on Monday, handicappers must have faith that his first start of 2011, a dull sixth in the Henry Clark at Pimlico, was due to early traffic trouble and a race he needed after 10 months on the sidelines rather than an indication he has lost a couple of steps.

Regardless of whether Monday’s race stays on the grass or is moved to the main track, it came up strong. On turf, the contenders include Roman Tiger, who hit the board in a pair of Grade 3 races last summer at Monmouth Park; Blazen, second in the $75,000 Turf Classic at Tampa Bay Downs two starts ago; and Longboarder, who switches surfaces after an authoritative win on Keeneland’s Polytrack five weeks ago. A shift to dirt would favor the Todd Pletcher-trained Understatement, a two-time stakes winner last season who recorded a 115 Beyer Speed Figure winning the Evening Attire at Aqueduct.

The 6-year-old Roman Tiger will be returning to Delaware for the first time since finishing second, beaten a half-length, in the 2008 running of the Grade 3 Kent. More recently, Roman Tiger was second in last June’s Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes and third in the Grade 3 Oceanport. He is eligible to move forward making his second start off a long layoff.

Blazen most recently finished a neck behind Roman Tiger in a race restricted to Florida-breds at Gulfstream Park. He benefits by getting a rider switch to defending Delaware champion jockey Rosie Napravnik.