05/14/2010 11:00PM

Vazquez off to sizzling start


Keeping a large string of horses last winter at Delaware Park is paying big dividends this spring for trainer Juan Vazquez.

Through the first seven days of the 2010 meet, Vazquez has won with 10 of 22 starters to vault to the top of the trainer standings. Thanks to a win by Yield Spread, who paid $101.60 on May 3, Vazquez has recorded a highly profitable $7.70 return on investment.

Vazquez, 35, a native of Buenos Aires, Argentina, says having fresh horses and maintaining a year-round stable at Delaware are the biggest reasons for his early-season success.

"My horses coming from Florida were ready, and I had 30 horses here during the winter that had been training over this track all year," Vazquez said. "Being stabled here over the winter really is an advantage at the start of the meet."

He has also been spotting his horses well.

"I just try to focus on running my horses where they can win," Vazquez said. "If you run your horses where they can win, you should win. When you run in them in a spot they cannot win, you do not win. It is really that simple."

Last year, Vazquez had his best season in the five years he has been training at Delaware Park. He finished fifth in the standings with 30 wins from 219 starts, highlighted by his first career stakes victory with Ms Vanenzza in the Blue Hen. In her next outing, Ms Vanenzza finished ninth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Bettors who have been slow to jump on Vazquez's bandwagon will get three more chances on Monday's card when he sends out the 7-year-old mare My Prefered in race 1 for $20,000 claimers, the 4-year-old gelding Johuel Dancer in race 5 for $5,000 nonwinners of two lifetime, and the 5-year-old gelding Big Blue Martini in race 7 for $5,000 claimers. Of that group, the most intriguing is Big Blue Martini, a three-time winner last season while racing primarily in starter-allowance races who plunges to the bottom level at Delaware while making his first start since September.

w In the featured eighth race, a first-level allowance for fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles on the turf, the favorite is Martita Sangrita, a 3-year-old who most recently finished second at this same level at Keeneland. She is trained by Michael Matz and owned by the Lael Stables of Roy and Gretchen Jackson, best known as the connections of 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro.