10/30/2008 12:00AM

Distance appears wrong for Delaware River


Delaware River has proven to be both versatile and consistent this season, winning stakes restricted to Pennsylvania-breds on both dirt and Tapeta, including the Smarty Jones Classic for the second straight year. As good as he has been, however, the 7-year-old Delaware River may be ill-suited to the seven furlongs of Saturday's $75,000 Yankee Affair at Philadelphia Park.

Based at the Bowie Training Center in Maryland with trainer William Campbell, Delaware River does his best running in routes. He captured the 1 1/16-mile Smarty Jones by 8 3/4 lengths in August and two months earlier led wire to wire in the 1 1/8-mile Willy Wank Stakes at Presque Isle Downs.

Seven furlongs, however, may be simply too short for him. In his last three efforts at that precise distance, Delaware River finished fifth twice and a distant eighth.

The only previous time he raced seven furlongs at Philly Park was way back in 2003, when he was 11th, 40 lengths behind future Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Smarty Jones in the Pennsylvania Nursery.

In contrast, several of Delaware River's rivals are proven performers in elongated sprints. Night Stand and Power By Leigh both are in sharp form, winning each of their last two starts. The 5-year-old Night Stand comes off a powerful wire-to-wire allowance win that was worth a 99 Beyer Speed Figure. Power By Leigh, also 5, won the seven-furlong Captain My Captain two starts ago.

Secretintelligence also merits respect. Trained by Tim Ritchey, who is 5 for 20 shipping into Philly Park this season, Secretintelligence was tremendous in 2007 when he had 5 wins and 5 seconds in 10 starts. He hasn't been quite as good this year, however, and had to settle for second as the 1-2 favorite in a restricted states at Delaware and the 2-1 second choice in the Captain My Captain in his two most recent starts.

New York-based trainer Rick Violette has gone 5 for 11 with the runners he has brought to Philly Park this season, so his Streetofchampions must be considered a contender.