Updated on 09/27/2012 4:34PM

Delaware Park: Pletcher's fillies the ones to beat in Blue Hen Stakes

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Tom Keyser
Kimono won her maiden by two lengths going seven furlongs at Saratoga.

Trainer Todd Pletcher definitely has a big shot at winning the Blue Hen Stakes on Saturday at Delaware Park for the fourth time since 2004. The debatable point is which of his uncoupled 2-year-old fillies, Danalake or Kimono, will wind up in the winner’s circle following the $75,000 stakes at a mile and 70 yards.

Danalake is the logical favorite after easily winning her two-turn debut in the one-mile Our Mims five weeks ago. Jose Caraballo, who is winning at a 48 percent clip aboard Pletcher-trained horses the past two seasons at Delaware, retains the mount.

But in terms of betting value, Kimono will be the better price of Pletcher’s pair, and there are strong statistics indicating she will run big. Kimono stretches out slightly in distance following a two-length score going seven furlongs at Saratoga. Her 68 Beyer Speed Figure nearly matches the 70 Danalake was awarded in the Our Mims.

Statistically, 2-year-olds trying a route for the first time following a maiden victory are one of Pletcher’s greatest strengths. He is a remarkable 9 for his last 13 (69 percent) with a $4.89 return on investment in that category.

Pletcher won the 2010 Blue Hen with Summer Laugh and back-to-back runnings of the stakes in 2004 with Buzz Song and in 2005 with Love Locket.

Among the other four fillies in the field, Dahteste looks dangerous breaking from the rail under Joe Rocco Jr., who won last year’s Blue Hen aboard Grade 1 winner Grace Hall and the 2009 running on Ms Vanennza. Dahteste will be facing winners after wiring a group of five other maidens over a sloppy track 3 1/2 weeks ago. From a small sampling, Dutrow is 2 for 8 with last-out 2-year-old maiden winners making their second start in a route.

“We sprinted her in her first race and she got some experience from it,” said trainer Tony Dutrow, who won the 2011 Blue Hen with Grace Hall.  “Obviously, she learned a lot because when we stretched her out going two turns in her next race, she won and she ran very professionally.  It was really good to see her give that kind of effort with such limited experience.  She really stepped up and ran a nice race for us, so we are very happy with her."

Martha’s Moon ships north from Calder following a win in a five-furlong overnight stakes. She will be racing beyond six furlongs for the first time and making her initial start since coming into the barn of John Servis and Rick Porter's Fox Hill Farm. Her only two wins have come over sloppy surfaces.

We purchased her thinking she was going to prefer going long on the grass," Servis said. "There really is not much around right now for her on the grass, so we thought we would try her going long in the Blue Hen Stakes.  And you know, if we get some rain, that will not hurt either.  It seems like they come out of Calder and do well everywhere, especially in the summer time."

Ms. Cullasaja, whose lone victory in six starts came against $10,000 maiden claimers, and My Sonata, still a maiden after four starts, appear overmatched.