07/02/2014 2:14PM

Speedy pair among eight in Delaware Oaks

Dustin Orona Photography
Honey's Ryan, a two-time winner at Remington Park last fall, should be part of a swift early pace in Saturday's Grade 2 Delaware Oaks.

The second- through fourth-place finishers from the Black-Eyed Susan are among the eight fillies who were entered Wednesday for the Grade 2, $300,000 Delaware Oaks on Saturday at Delaware Park.

The presence of Image of Anna and Thistledown shipper Honey’s Ryan ensures a lively pace in the 1 1/16-mile Oaks.

Image of Anna, trained by Rick Violette, showed the way to the top of the stretch in the Black-Eyed Susan before tiring to finish last in the 11-horse field. She rebounded while getting a race over the Delaware track when second to Joint Return after setting the fractions in the Our Mims Stakes on June 8. Joint Return, a winner of 5 of 8 starts who was fourth in the Black-Eyed Susan, will be among the Oaks favorites from post 4.

“I thought she ran great last time,” Violette said. “I’m not sure what happened in Maryland. She stopped like she was shot that day.”

Image of Anna, who drew post 6 for the Oaks, came into the Black-Eyed Susan off front-running maiden and allowance wins at Aqueduct.

[Delaware Oaks: Get PPs, watch Saturday's card live]

“She wants to go to the lead,” Violette said. “But I also think if somebody’s faster, she’ll relax.”

That somebody might turn out to be Honey’s Ryan, who is trained by Kenneth Marshall. Honey’s Ryan (post 3) concluded her 2-year-old season last year with a pair of blowout wins at Remington Park: a one-mile maiden race and the E.L. Gaylord Memorial at 6 1/2 furlongs when trained by Scott Young. In her seasonal debut May 28, she was unchallenged in winning a Thistledown allowance sprint for Marshall.

“I know we’re taking a shot here,” Marshall said, “but she’s hard to spot now, with no conditions, and she’s been beating everything handily. We’ve been training her for this, and I’m pretty sure we’re the speed. I don’t think anyone can keep up with her early.”

Vero Amore, trained by Butch Reid, and Fortune Pearl, trained by Graham Motion, finished second and third in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan. Vero Amore stalked Image of Anna early, took the lead nearing the stretch, and then lost a neck heartbreaker to Stopchargingmaria after a fierce, stretch-long battle. Fortune Pearl was beaten three lengths. Vero Amore (post 7) and Fortune Pearl (post 8) will start from the outside stalls Saturday.

The other entrants are Aibhilin (post 5), who won the Selima at Laurel last fall, Pixie Dust (post 1), and Lady Paradime (post 2).

◗ The Delaware Oaks undercard includes the Grade 3, $200,000 Robert Dick Memorial and two $50,000 overnight stakes. The Dick, a 1 3/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares, drew a field of 13. Topic, trained by Neil Drysdale, is the lukewarm favorite on the morning line at 7-2.