06/15/2002 12:00AM

Delaware: True Passion steps up


Trainer Don Reeder had the option of running True Passion in a four-other-than allowance race at Monmouth Park or a six-figure stakes at Delaware Park.

Fortunately for Reeder, he made the right move by choosing the $100,900 Wilmington Handicap.

True Passion ($12.80) wired a quality field of older sprinters by 2 1/2 lengths in his stakes debut, covering six furlongs over a wet-fast track in 1:09.81.

True Passion, who began the year racing in nonwinners-of-three lifetime claiming events, has now won five straight races.

Reeder said True Passion seems to be a different horse since he was gelded earlier this year and learned not to hit himself when running, "He would hit his hocks when he ran, and he had a lot of scars on them," Reeder said. "We cut [gelded] him. Since then, he has just developed. He clears his hocks now and he has just turned it around."

The stakes win was also something special for jockey Tony Black. It came exactly 33 years after the

50-year-old Black won his first race at now-defunct Liberty Bell Park.