07/10/2011 2:41PM

Life At Ten likely to get chance to defend Delaware Handicap title

Barbara D. Livingston
Life At Ten has shown enough signs of life during her morning works to suggest she deserves a chance to return to Delaware Park for Saturday's Delaware Handicap.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Though she has gone badly off form in the last eight months, Life At Ten may be headed back to defend her title in the $750,000 Delaware Handicap when that race is run Saturday at Delaware Park.

 Trainer Todd Pletcher said that he is “leaning toward’’ running Life At Ten in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap after watching her breeze five furlongs in 1:00.66 Sunday morning over the Belmont Park main track. Life At Ten worked in company with Belmont Stakes runner-up Stay Thirsty.

 The Delaware Handicap is expected to draw two of the nation’s top older fillies and mares in Havre de Grace and Blind Luck. Life At Ten was assigned 115 pounds, nine pounds less than Havre de Grace and seven less than Blind Luck.

 “Obviously, it’s a very tough race, but she gets a little bit of a weight concession over a surface she’s won on before,’’ Pletcher said.

 Life At Ten is winless in four starts this year, including a fourth-place finish in the Allaire DuPont Distaff at Pimlico in May and a third in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps last month at Belmont. Pletcher said he has been frustrated at how poorly Life At Ten has run considering how well he believes she has been training.

 “She works like she did this morning every time,’’ Pletcher said. “It’s frustrating she doesn’t run as well as she’s trained. She’s an older mare and maybe it’s going to take a little while to round back into form. She continues to please us in the mornings so all we know to do is keep trying.’’