10/18/2012 4:02PM

Delaware Park: Stephanoatsee, Called to Serve meet in Barbaro

Email
Tom Keyser
Stephanoatsee will be making the third start of his current form cycle in Saturday's Barbaro Stakes.

Stephanoatsee and Called to Serve, who each picked up small pieces of big purses in their latest outings, could play a far more prominent role in Saturday’s Barbaro Stakes for 3-year-olds at Delaware Park.

The $100,000 Barbaro, scheduled for 1 1/16 miles on the main track, is the richest of five stakes on an 11-race Owners Day card that begins at 1:15 p.m. Eastern.

Stephanoatsee will be making the third start of his current form cycle after posting a career-best 89 Beyer Speed Figure while finishing fourth in last month’s Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby. He was up close at the stretch call, trailing by just a length, before being passed by two horses and losing some ground in the final furlong.

On the positive side, trainer Graham Motion is 7 for 14 (50 percent) with dirt route runners making their third start following a layoff in a non-graded stakes.

The California-based Called to Serve exits a third-place finish in the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby three weeks ago. He rallied from sixth to be beaten only three-quarters of a length. The 95 Beyer he earned for that performance is the best last-race number in Saturday’s 10-horse field.

The Barbaro lineup also includes Key Donation, winner of the $100,000 Prelude at Louisiana Downs two starts ago, and My Adonis, winner of the Long Branch at Monmouth in early July.

Key Donation is 3 for 3 in dirt races between a mile and 1 1/16 miles. He threw in a rare clunker when a distant eighth of nine in the 1 1/8-mile Super Derby six weeks ago.

My Adonis, second to last year’s champion 2-year-old Hansen in the Grade 3 Gotham early in the year, did not perform up to his capabilities in his last two races, both of which were contested over sloppy tracks. He showed good zip tuning up for this spot with a 47.20-second half-mile workout at Monmouth on Sept. 30.

The Pennsylvania-bred Traffic Light has 4 wins and a second in his last 6 starts, including a runner-up effort last time out in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones. He projects to be the controlling speed in the race.

In the undercard stakes:

◗ Win Willy, winner of the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in 2011 and first or second in 5 of 6 lifetime starts at Delaware, looms a heavy favorite against five rivals in the $75,000 Governor’s Day at a mile and 70 yards.

◗ In the Rough and Bryan’s Jewel, one-two in an overnight stakes Sept. 1, clash with recent optional claiming winner Eulonia and Sky Willow, winner of a restricted stakes on Tapeta at Presque Isle Downs, in a wide-open field of 11 fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on turf in the $75,000 George Rosenberger Memorial.

◗ Chifa, who held on by a nose against high-priced maiden claimers at Saratoga, and debut winners Lost Memory and Reckless bring similar Beyer Speed Figures into the $60,000 Small Wonder for Delaware-certified 2-year-old fillies going 5 1/2 furlongs.

◗ Jake N Elwood, winner of the restricted Danzig at Penn National and a first-level allowance at Parx Racing this summer, and Escrow Kid, claimed for $50,000 by trainer Tony Dutrow following a pair of sharp efforts at Monmouth Park, head a group of six sprinters in the $60,000 New Castle.