08/27/2013 1:03PM

Delaware Park: Saintly Love aims for seventh straight win in Nick Shuk Memorial

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Saintly Love, perfect in six races this year, will make his first start for trainer Howard Wolfendale in Thursday's $50,000 Nick Shuk Stakes.

Saintly Love is 6 for 6 this year on turf, and he will try to extend his streak while making his first start for new connections and stepping up in class for Thursday’s $50,000 Nick Shuk Memorial Stakes at Delaware Park.

At 7 1/2 furlongs on turf, the Shuk drew a competitive field that includes the Jonathan Sheppard-trained Utley, idle since winning his lone start this year during Keeneland’s spring meet; Change of Command, the winner of the one-mile Elkwood Stakes at Monmouth Park in July; and Slip and Drive, who was beaten just five lengths by Horse of the Year Wise Dan when third in last fall’s Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile.

The 5-year-old Saintly Love changed hands when trainer Howard Wolfendale put in a $50,000 claim on behalf of Robert Cole Jr. on Aug. 4 at Monmouth Park. During his streak, Saintly Love has raced at Tampa Bay Downs, Pimlico, Colonial Downs, and Monmouth.

Most recently, Saintly Love got up by a head while going a mile. Among the horses he beat that day were Glass Art, a six-time winner on turf, and Humble and Hungry, a Grade 3 winner who was second in the Grade 2 Dixie in 2012.

Utley will be seeking his third straight win after closing out his 2012 campaign last September with a victory at Laurel Park and upsetting nine opponents at 10-1 in a one-mile allowance at Keeneland in April. The last time he came off a similar layoff, Utley won a one-mile allowance at Delaware in June 2012.

After winning the Elkwood, Change of Command regressed when stepping up in class for the Grade 3 Oceanport. Two of the runners from the Oceanport, Howe Great and Tune Me In, returned to run second and third in the Grade 3 Cliff Hanger Stakes last Sunday.

Slip and Drive has been no worse than second in 7 of 9 starts on Delaware’s turf. In the best of his two races this year, Slip and Drive was a close second in a 7 1/2-furlong stakes at Canterbury Park.