09/12/2013 2:36PM

Delaware Park: Bryan’s Jewel aims to shine on event-filled Owners’ Day

Hoofprints, Inc.
Grade 3 winner Bryan’s Jewel will make her last start of the year on Sunday’s Owners’ Day card at Delaware Park, according to trainer Mac Robertson.

A tribute to retired jockey Ramon Dominguez, a book signing by Hall of Fame trainer Jack Van Berg, and a 12-race card featuring six stakes for Thoroughbreds and one for Arabians highlight the Owners’ Day program Saturday at Delaware Park.

Dominguez, 36, was the track’s leading rider five times when he rode regularly at Delaware from 1998 through 2008. Fans in attendance will be given a commemorative 8-by-10 photo of Dominguez and have the opportunity to purchase a limited edition bobblehead doll with proceeds benefiting the Permanently Disabled Jockeys Fund.

Among his many memorable mounts, Dominguez rode Better Talk Now, trained by Graham Motion, to a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf in 2004.

“Ramon has been a big part of Delaware because he had been there so long and had so much success,” Motion said. “It is a testament to him and a reflection of Delaware Park because he stayed so long before moving to a New York. I always felt very fortunate that we had him for that long because I knew he was going to go on to bigger and better things.”

[DELAWARE PARK: Get PPs, watch Saturday's full card live]

Van Berg will be signing his recently released biography “Jack, From Grit to Glory,” written by television racing analyst and author Chris Kotulak, near the White Grove tent from 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.

The six Thoroughbred stakes, worth $75,000 apiece, consist of four races for Delaware-bred or Delaware-certified horses plus two races restricted to horses who have started in a non-stakes at the meet.

The most intriguing stakes might be the Tax Free Shopping Distaff (race 7), where Bryan’s Jewel, winner of the Grade 3 Obeah going 1 1/8 miles in June, cuts back to six furlongs following six straight starts in two-turn races.

Trainer Mac Robertson said this will be the last start this season for the 5-year-old Bryan’s Jewel, who will be freshened for a 2014 campaign beginning at Oaklawn Park. In fact, Bryan’s Jewel won her first start this year in a six-furlong sprint at Oaklawn in March, earning a 91 Beyer Speed Figure that is her co-best in seven starts in 2013. She also earned a 91 in her next start, a close fifth in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom.

“She has been hard at it all year, but I have not trained her very hard, so we are going to run her one time in this sprint and then give her a rest,” Robertson said. “She beat a nice group of fillies at Oaklawn Park back in March, so I know she can do it.”

The seven opponents Bryan’s Jewel will face include her uncoupled stablemate Cabo Time, who won back-to-back sprints against high-priced optional claiming company earlier in the meet; Galiana, who won two sprints for New York-bred fillies and mares at Saratoga; and the 3-year-old filly Missy Rules, who returns to sprinting after winning the one-mile Our Mims on opening day and finishing off the board in the Go for Wand.

In the other stakes:

◗ Hop the Six, winner of the White Clay Creek locally two starts ago, gets class relief after an off-the-board performance in the Grade 2 Adirondack at Saratoga when she faces five other 2-year-old fillies in the 5 1/2-furlong Small Wonder (race 2).

◗ Debt Ceiling, winner of the Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs in June, makes his first start since finishing sixth as the favorite in the Grade 2 Sanford at Saratoga on July 21 in the 5 1/2-furlong First State Dash for 2-year-olds (race 4).

◗ Managed Account, who is a neck shy of owning a three-race winning streak locally, looks difficult to beat in the mile and 70-yard Delaware Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association Governors Day (race 9).

◗ Tippie Tap, coming off a win in a second-level allowance and a near-miss in an overnight stakes, might rate a slight edge over Final Escrow, who cleared her second allowance condition last time out at Monmouth Park, in the George Rosenberger Memorial, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for fillies and mares (race 10).

◗ A pair of 3-year-old sprinters – The Absolute One, who improved to 3 for 4 lifetime when he returned from nearly 10 months on the sidelines to win a half-mile allowance at Timonium, and three-time stakes winner Whiskey Romeo, who was claimed for $50,000 out of a second-place finish at Saratoga two weeks ago – are logical contenders in the six-furlong New Castle (race 11).