07/14/2010 11:00PM

A She's Adorable has home turf advantage


Trainer Michael Stidham is hopeful A She's Adorable's proven affinity for Delaware Park's turf course can offset the class advantage of New York shippers Treat Gently and Gozzip Girl in Saturday's Grade 3, $200,000 Robert Dick Memorial Stakes.

The 1 3/8-mile Dick and the $100,000 R.R.M. Carpenter are the supporting stakes on a 12-race card highlighted by the 73rd running of the Delaware Handicap.

The 4-year-old A She's Adorable was second in her career debut on Delaware's turf last fall and captured her first stakes in last month's John Rooney Memorial there. The two good races over the course could work in her favor against the two New Yorkers, who have never raced at Delaware.

"I always think that is an advantage when you run on the surface, especially since I think it is her best race to date," said Stidham, referring to A She's Adorable's 1 1/4-length score in the 1 1/16-mile Rooney. "She has been training well and we have had a couple of works since the race."

Stidham admits he did not have high expectations for A She's Adorable when he ran her in a $25,000 maiden claiming race first time out.

"Early on in her training, she just showed us average to moderate ability," said Stidham. "There really was nothing about her that made us think she was going to be a stakes horse, so at that time we decided to start her off where we thought she would be competitive. She ran a real good race that day, and we look at the Ragozin numbers quite a bit for placement of our horses. After we saw the number that she ran first time out, we decided to actually raise her up off of that. She has just been impressive ever since. She is just one of those fillies that no matter where you put her, she really tries hard for you, and you cannot ask for more than that."

Treat Gently, trained by Bill Mott, has been off since dominating the Grade 2 Sheepshead Bay on May 22 at the same distance as Saturday's race. Early in her career, she was a Group 2 winner in France and placed third in a Group 1 race going 1 1/2 miles.

Gozzip Girl, winner of the Grade 1 American Oaks and Grade 2 Sands Point as a 3-year-old last season, has had all kinds of trouble getting back into action this year. She stumbled at the start, dislodging jockey Ramon Dominguez, in what was supposed to be her comeback race in last month's Grade 2 New York at Belmont. Since then, she was scratched from the July 4 Miss Liberty at Monmouth because trainer Tom Albertrani wanted to run her in an allowance in New York. That race initially didn't fill, then was canceled when one of last week's cards at Belmont was called off because of intense heat.

Albertrani now hopes to use the Dick as a stepping-stone to the Aug. 21 Beverly D. at Arlington Park.

The 10-horse field for the Dick also includes Trensa, who went to sidelines after finishing second in this race last year. She could move forward after weakening slightly to finish third in her comeback in last month's Rooney.

Carpenter: Our Edge looks solid

The Nick Zito-trained Our Edge, whose 2-for-2 record at Delaware last season included the Grade 3 Barbaro, figures to be a short-priced favorite against just four rivals in the 1 1/16-mile R.R.M. Carpenter for older horses.

Our Edge returns to stakes company after winning a third-level optional claimer at Monmouth Park with a career-best 100 Beyer Speed Figure on June 26.

His toughest competition could come from Sir Whimsey, a Steve Asmussen-trained 6-year-old who will be making the second start of his form cycle after finishing second in last month's Skip Away at Monmouth.

Pletcher varies his pattern

Much like chefs who follow proven recipes, racehorse trainers tend to repeat successful patterns. Todd Pletcher, in his bid for a record-tying fourth victory in the Delaware Handicap, has veered away from what has worked in the past, however, by sending favored Life At Ten into Saturday's Grade 2, $750,000 race for fillies and mares without the benefit of a prep at Delaware Park.

Pletcher's three previous Delaware Handicap winners -- Irving's Baby in 2001, Fleet Indian in 2006, and Unbridled Belle in 2007 -- all either won or ran well in the Grade 3 Obeah, Delaware's local prep for the Delaware Handicap. Unbridled Belle also won the Obeah each of the last two years before finishing third in the 2008 and 2009 runnings of the Del Cap.

In contrast, Indian Vale, fifth as the 4-5 favorite in 2007, and La Reason, sixth at 3-1 in 2006, did not have a local race under their belts prior to running poorly in the Delaware Handicap.

Yet, Pletcher chose to skip last month's Obeah with Life At Ten in favor of the Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park, a Grade 1 race that she led wire to wire to win by 2 3/4 lengths.

"We have had a lot of luck over the years running in the Obeah and then back in the Delaware Handicap," Pletcher said. "In this particular case, this mare never really had the opportunity to run in a Grade 1 and we just felt like the Phipps was the right spot for her at that time. We did strongly consider running in the Obeah as a prep for this race, but the Grade 1 was just too enticing.

"This year, we have had a bit of luck running horses over a track for the first time, and I do not think having a race over the Delaware surface is as important now as it was a few years back."