02/08/2010 1:00AM

European style suits Delacour


OLDSMAR, Fla. - If you're the kind of player who likes stables with a European flavor, then look no further than the Leigh Delacour outfit at Tampa Bay Downs.

Like European horses, most of the residents of the Delacour shed row are turf runners. They are trained to settle early, and do their best running in the stretch. That Euro strategy is obviously working.

Delacour, 29, has sent out 5 winners from her last 11 starters. Her overall record at the meet is 8 for 32, a very respectable 25 percent.

It's no accident Delacour trains her horses in a European-influenced style. She learned the basics of the business from English native Graham Motion, one of the top turf trainers in the country. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Delacour said she paid part of her tuition with the earnings from a horse given to her by Motion.

"It was great," she said. "I actually paid for part of my education running him."

After a short stint as a jockey, Delacour went back with Motion, working as an assistant. It was during her travels with that outfit that she met Arnaud Delacour, who was working as an assistant for another top turf stable, that of Christophe Clement. The two married in 2007 and struck out of their own. The stable has improved each season, winning 10 races in 2007, 19 in 2008, and 27 last season. The string is based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Fair Hill, Md., in the summer and has been racing here during the winters. Their top runner is Sales Tax, who is nominated for the Grade 3 Endeavour Stakes here on Saturday.

* The Feliciano family had a good week as trainer Benny Feliciano, a former rider, won two races on Wednesday with Ben's Bullet and Koda. His brother Miguel won a race Friday with Pyriteville and just missed making it two for the day when beaten a neck with Bold Captain. Ricardo Feliciano, Benny's son, was aboard all four.

* In the oldies but goodies department, 75-year-old Forrest Kaelin, a trainer for more than 50 years, won three races during the week to bring his win total for the meeting to five.