09/22/2012 5:07PM

Delaware: Optimizer uses newfound speed to take Kent

Optimizer, ridden by Jon Court, wins his first career stakes in the Grade 3 Kent.

Optimizer spent the first 12 races of his career as a deep closer on dirt. But something happened in his second time on turf that enabled Optimizer to display early speed he had never before shown.

One start after wiring a group that included older horses in a first-level optional $35,000 claimer at Saratoga, Optimizer used his newfound speed to take Saturday’s Grade 3, $200,625 Kent Stakes for 3-year-olds at Delaware Park.

Optimizer ($8.40), ridden by Jon Court, pressured Excaper throughout the first seven furlongs of the 1 1/8-mile Kent. Excaper, ridden by Alex Solis, set contested fractions of 46.99 seconds and 1:10.70 racing on a firm course with the rails 15 feet out. Turning for home, Optimizer pushed past Excaper and drew clear in deep stretch to score by 4 1/4l engths.

His final time of 1:47.27 broke the course record of 1:47.32 set by Touched by Madness in 2005.

“He broke alertly and he chose to lay up there close,” said Court, who was riding Optimizer for the first time since the colt finished 11th in the Kentucky Derby.  “He laid up there effortlessly."

Escaper, a Woodbine-based colt whose previous stakes experience includes seconds in the Grade 3 Summer and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, easily was second best. Two Months Rent won a photo for third at 35-1 by a head over 27-1 shot Star Channel. Lucky Chappy finished seventh as the 5-2 favorite.

Court, who has ridden more than 30,000 races in his career, was riding for only the third time at Delaware and his first over the track’s grass course. Court had been third in this year’s Delaware Oaks aboard Amie’s Dini and fifth in the 2009 Delaware Handicap on Temple Street.

Opimizer, a son of English Channel owned by Bluegrass Hall, gave Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas his first stakes win at Delaware since 1997.


JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Congratulations, Optimizer. Nice to see him doing well and winning a race. He's been put through a lot this year and it's wonderful he has finally found a niche he likes and is succeeding. Way to go, Optimizer!
Christopher McKay More than 1 year ago
Jon Court is at his best (at stealing a race) on the lead on the TURF or DIRT
Perl More than 1 year ago
He didn't steal anything. He dueled with another horse through sub 47 second half mile and 1:10 and 3 for 3/4s. His horse ran a great race.
Perl More than 1 year ago
I think Advance Plumbing was being sarcastic. The point is that Lukas should have put this horse on turf a long time ago. I was at the horse's first career race at the Spa where he circled the field to win impressively on the turf. Then I think he ran well in his next two starts on the turf and poly. So what does Lukas do? He puts a son of English Channel in 14 consecutive graded dirt races including ALL THREE TRIPLE CROWN races when the horse was obviously a turf animal. He must be a very excellent colt to survive his trainer's questionable (and possibly self-centered) decisions. I think Optimizer hit the board once in all those dirt races in a very suspect Oaklawn stakes race where he still couldn't catch sprinter Secret Circle. Anyway, a big Kudos to Optimizer for being a stout pony and dealing with all those races on the dirt that he didn't belong in and coming back strong on his preferred surface with his second consecutive impressive turf performance!
Advance Plumbing More than 1 year ago
D wayne 1 for 30 at the spa.
Advance Plumbing More than 1 year ago
Whos the sire of Optimizer??? English Channel, boy was he a great dirt horse.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Hope you know more about plumbing than you do about horse racing.
Perl More than 1 year ago
He was being sarcastic, numbnutz.
Advance Plumbing More than 1 year ago
Agreed Lukas looks like an idiot here. Triple crown BS
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
Why would any owner put a stakes calibre horse with Lukas. He basically wasted 6 months of a horses short career to try and win a classic. He could have developed into a better grass horse than he is now with proper handling. In this day and age horses have a very finite career,as we can all see with this group of 3yo breaking down,retiring etc. Time to put D.Wayne out to pasture
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Guess you and the plumber lost your azzes .Why else would you guys be bashing Wayne off a win instead of congratulating him. He's apparently a better trainer than you are a handicapper.
Morris More than 1 year ago
the 1st time i saw d.wayne lucas, he interduced himself as a baskett ball coach. i have watched him ever since. he has displayed to me ,on several times that he had a lot of effection, for optimizer. in turn he has taken care of him, & let him come along, all the while racing him at top level. now tell me . does that look like a trainer thats washed up? i think not. enough said, "an ole railbird".
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
You always seem to have the proper words. Love your posts.
richard montgomery More than 1 year ago
Jon Court is an excellent rider....never count him out.
DrSmoke120 More than 1 year ago
Can't say Optimizer isn't tough. How many of his years Triple runners are running their best now. Nice score, he flew home.