Updated on 05/13/2011 12:32PM

Delaware Park: Sarah’s Song on hot streak


Five days before the end of January, the 4-year-old filly Sarah’s Song was still a maiden. By mid-March, she owned just one win and had run no faster than a 69 on the Beyer Speed Figure scale. Nevertheless, a good performance in Saturday’s $50,000 Winter Melody Stakes at Delaware Park could make Sarah’s Song a viable candidate for the track’s premier event, the Grade 2, $750,000 Delaware Handicap on July 16.

Sarah’s Song comes into Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares off a pair of front-running victories against high-priced optional claimers at Oaklawn Park. Not only did she win by a combined margin of 19 lengths, but Sarah’s Song greatly improved her Beyer Figures, earning an 87 on March 17 and a 93 last time out on April 1.

Trainer Mac Robertson said he feels the longer the distance, the better Sarah’s Song will be, based on how well she stretched out off a pair of six-furlong sprints to begin her 2011 campaign.

“She is a route mare, and she finally got fit enough to run long,” said Robertson. “I feel good because she can run fast early and keep running. She can run a long ways.”

That’s a good trait for the Delaware Handicap, which will be contested at 1 1/4 miles.

Robertson cautioned that Sarah’s Song may not move forward in the Winter Melody, which is worth a free nomination for the first three finishers to the Grade 3, $150,000 Obeah Stakes on June 11.

“She has run two monster races, so she may regress a little on Saturday, but obviously she is here for the filly and mare series going long,” Robertson said. “With this race, I hope we win it, but it is not the most important thing to me. I think the further I run her, the more comfortable she will be early. When we stretch her out to mile and an eighth or a mile and a quarter, if they want to go with her, they are not going to win.”

Among the nine fillies and mares Sarah’s Song will face in her stakes debut, another Oaklawn shipper, Tiz Miz Sue, might be her fiercest challenger.

Tiz Miz Sue, a 4-year-old trained by Steve Hobby, is 3 for 3 racing on Delaware’s main track, including a win in last fall’s Polly Jet. She missed by a neck in the $100,000 Red Bud at Oaklawn a month ago.

Napravnik resumes riding at Delaware on Monday

Last year’s leading jockey, Rosie Napravnik, will be back in action at Delaware Park for the first time this season on Monday.

Napravnik, who became the first female to earn leading rider honors at Delaware when she won 126 races in 2010, is named on mounts in six races on Monday’s 10-race card. She missed the start of the 2011 season when she remained in Kentucky after the Keeneland meet ended to ride Louisiana Derby winner Pants On Fire in the Kentucky Derby. Pants On Fire finished ninth.

Elite Alex second at 2-5 in allowance

Elite Alex, once a highly regarded contender on the road to the Kentucky Derby, had to settle for second best when he dropped from graded stakes company into a first-level allowance on Wednesday at Delaware Park.

Sent off as the 2-5 favorite, Elite Alex finished second, seven lengths behind I’m Steppin’ It Up, whose previous best accomplishment was a distant  third behind Uncle Mo in last fall’s Grade 1 Champagne Stakes. In two starts in Florida this season, I’m Steppin’ It Up was beaten a combined 24 lengths.

Prior to returning to Delaware, where he won his career debut going five furlongs as a 2-year-old, Elite Alex had finished fourth in the Louisiana Derby and ninth in the Arkansas Derby. His runner-up finish on Wednesday was worth a modest 78 Beyer Speed Figure.