10/01/2011 12:53PM

Delaware Park: Surface will make a world of difference


It’s not merely the sheer number of horses – 14 fillies and mares – that makes Monday’s featured seventh race at Delaware Park a headache for handicappers. There’s also the uncertainty whether the money allowance that is also open to $60,000 claimers will remain as scheduled at 1 1/16 miles on turf or be moved to the main track.

A shift to dirt would clearly benefit the four runners entered for the main track only – Punta Ballena, D Day, All Night Labor, and Lacie Slew.

Among that quartet, Lacie Slew looks the most dangerous. A 5-year-old mare based at Monmouth Park with trainer Peter Walder, Lacie Slew has been consistent in the three starts she has made this season, all within the narrow range between 82 and 86 on the Beyer Speed Figure scale. She takes a drop in class after finishing second in the $101,000 Lady’s Secret at Monmouth and third in the Sightseek for New Jersey-breds.

The 6-year-old mare D Day has been idle since April, when she raced twice, highlighted by a 4 3/4-length win in the Shine Again for Maryland-breds at Pimlico. Last season, D Day raced well in three consecutive starts over fast tracks at Delaware.

If Monday’s feature race remains on turf that is less than firm, it might be a good wake-up spot for the 7-year-old Ainamaa. Although she was no better than sixth in her two most recent starts, Ainamaa ran well over a course rated good three starts ago in the Grade 3 Robert Dick Memorial. That day, she set the pace and held a two-length lead after the first mile in 1:36 and change before fading to fourth.

Joharmony, a dominant winner of the 2010 Hilltop at Pimlico, and Bella d’Oro, a confirmed front-runner, both gave good efforts while finishing less than a length apart while racing over soft turf in the $100,000 Red Carpet at Penn National on July 29.

The 4-year-old Joharmony rallied to get third in the Red Carpet. The last time she ran against similar company to what she will face Monday, Joharmony won by 2 3/4 lengths.

Bella d’Oro, fourth after setting the pace in the Red Carpet, also gets class relief after three straight starts in stakes. She earned a career-best 92 Beyer the last time she ran in a non-stakes a year ago.