05/27/2013 12:07PM

Delaware Park: Dreaming of Jazz a top contender in Bud Delp Memorial

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Juan Vazquez was the leading trainer at Delaware Park in 2010 and 2011, then finished second behind runaway leader Jamie Ness last year. Although he has about 60 horses on the grounds, Vazquez didn’t send out a starter in the first four days of the meet.

Vazquez could begin to make some noise on Wednesday when he saddles the much-improved Dreaming of Jazz as a contender in the $50,000 Bud Delp Memorial Stakes for 3-year-olds going a mile and 70 yards on the main track.

Dreaming of Jazz was running for a $10,000 claiming price during the winter at Laurel Park, with a modest 50 Beyer Speed Figure his best number after five career starts. Claimed for $10,000 by Vazquez on Feb. 8, Dreaming of Jazz soared to a 68 Beyer Figure when he defeated $20,000 claimers going a mile.

The improvement continued when Dreaming of Jazz finished second with an 81 Beyer against first-level allowance horses and then won with a career-best 85 Beyer in his two-turn debut at Pimlico on May 2.

His stiffest challenge in the Delp figures to come from another horse coming off a good performance at Pimlico, Rienzi. A Fox Hill Farm-owned colt who sold for $350,000 as a 2-year-old in training, Rienzi dueled up front early before weakening slightly to finish third in the Federico Tesio on April 27. Before that, Rienzi crushed first-level allowance foes at Parx by 6 1/2 lengths. His back-to-back Beyers of 83 and 81 are almost identical to Dreaming of Jazz’s two best figures.

The six-horse field also includes Where’s Dominic, who returns to dirt and a route following a fourth-place finish sprinting on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs, and Michael With Us, who was just a half-length behind Dreaming of Jazz last time out.

Mike Trombetta, the trainer of Where’s Dominic, shows a superb 5-for-11 record (45 percent) and $3.94 return on investment with horses switching from synthetic to dirt while going from sprints to routes.

Michael With Us owns a two-turn stakes victory, in the OBS Championship on the synthetic surface at Ocala in March. He finished third in his two previous races at Delaware.

Kenny Smith, off to a 4-for-9 start to begin Delaware’s meet, will run Stratocruiser, a 3 3/4-length winner going two turns at Oaklawn two starts ago. Stratocruiser won his maiden going a mile and 70 yards at Delaware last summer.