05/20/2013 2:15PM

Delaware Park: Bryan's Jewel won't find much class relief in Winter Melody

Tom Keyser
Bryan's Jewel, most recently a troubled fifth in the Apple Blossom Handicap, steps down in class for Wednesday's Winter Melody Stakes at Delaware Park.

The drop from a Grade 1 race to an overnight stakes on a Wednesday at Delaware Park is usually a steep plunge. But not this time, in the $50,000 Winter Melody for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles.

Yes, Bryan’s Jewel is the one to beat following a traffic-hampered fifth-place effort in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom at Oaklawn Park on April 12. But the Winter Melody is hardly easy pickings.

The lineup includes Onepointhreekarats and Twice the Lady, a pair of mares who contested Grade 2 stakes in each of their last two outings. Sprinkle in a couple of runners stepping up from allowance wins and several stakes-seasoned contenders, and you have a pretty salty contest.

In Bryan’s Jewel, trainer McLean Robertson sees a 5-year-old with untapped potential.

“She has always trained better than she’s run,” Robertson said. “In the morning, it’s easy for a jockey to find her stride, and she always trains great. In the afternoon, sometimes she gets in her own way. It seems likes she’s matured and that she’s going to be a little bit more consistent this year.”

The Winter Melody will be the third start of the season for Bryan’s Jewel, who scored an allowance win at Oaklawn in March prior to the Apple Blossom.

“She has the kind of potential for that kind of race, but she hasn’t shown it yet,” Robertson said. “She actually ran a good race in the Apple Blossom. She probably should have been third, if not for some trouble at the eighth pole.”

Robertson hopes the return to Delaware Park, where Bryan’s Jewel is 2-1-3 in seven starts, kicks off a productive summer.

“Both her Hot Springs races were good races,” Robertson said. “I know it’s a tough race for $50,000, but she’s tough, too. On paper, she looks like the horse to beat, but Orb looked like the horse to beat the other day.”The next two logical contenders are the two mares also dropping from graded stakes.

Onepointhreekarats will be making her third start of 2013, having run seventh in the Barbara Fritchie Handicap at Laurel and sixth in the Ruffian Handicap at Aqueduct for trainer Graham Motion. She won her only prior race at Delaware, a first-level allowance last September that launched a three-race winning streak to close out the campaign.

Twice the Lady was more competitive in her last two at Aqueduct, with a second in the Top Flight Handicap and a third in the Ruffian for trainer Tony Dutrow.

Hymn Note (Penn National) and Fire Assay (Parx Racing) both captured second-level allowances in their most recent efforts.

Trainer Peter Walder said Sonja’s Angel, a winner of two of three starts since a January claim at Gulfstream Park, will scratch.