07/17/2010 11:49AM

Paradise Bound starts for new trainer at Delaware Park


STANTON, Del. – Paradise Bound, whose turf form earlier in her career running in Florida and Kentucky was a lot better than in a recent two-race stint in Canada, returns to the United States and changes barns for Monday’s feature race at Delaware Park.

A 4-year-old filly who has gone from Bill Mott to Graham Motion, Paradise Bound could hold the key to the eighth race, a second-level optional $40,000 claimer scheduled for a mile and 70 yards on turf. Three of the nine fillies and mares in the field – Annabill, Tammy’s Victress, and Oh So Clever – are entered for the main track only.

Although she won her maiden in an off-the-turf race at Fair Grounds last February, Paradise Bound’s best career effort in nine starts came when she rallied from 11th to win a first-level allowance on the turf at Keeneland. That good grass effort was similar to the second- and third-place finishes she picked up facing maidens at Calder and Gulfstream Park in the late fall and early winter of 2008-2009.

In two turf starts at Woodbine, however, at the same level as Monday’s race, Paradise Bound finished last and next-to-last while her Beyer Speed Figures dropped from 86 to 72 and 74.

Based on Motion’s past success with new acquisitions, there’s reason to expect a much better effort from Paradise Bound in her Delaware debut. During the last five years, Motion is 4 for 15 with the turf runners he has started at Delaware following a trainer change, according to DRF’s Formulator.

The locally based Itsagiantcauseway and Maryland-shipper Heavenly Moon pose the stiffest challenges for Paradise Bound.

Itsagiantcauseway has run three straight turf races at Delaware in the narrow Beyer range of 76 to 79, including a win in a first-level allowance May 8. She gets a positive rider change to Anna Napravnik.

Heavenly Moon cleared her first allowance condition two starts ago at Pimlico. Although her trainer, Hamilton Smith, is 2 for 8 at the meet and winning at a 17 percent clip overall in 2010, his record at Delaware in turf races is just 4 for 65 the last five years.

Domestic Bliss missed by a neck against similar competition at Penn National two starts ago and now makes the third start of her current form cycle, often a peak performance. But trainer Kathleen DeMasi is a weak 2 for 26 with her turf horses third time off a layoff.