07/14/2016 10:36AM

Wide-open Kent Stakes part of intriguing Delaware Handicap card

Barbara D. Livingston
Converge's win in the Palm Beach Stakes this February makes him the only graded stakes winner in the Kent field.

The Grade 1 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park on Saturday is sandwiched among four playable supporting races. The Del Cap is slotted as race 9 at 5:15 p.m. Eastern. It is preceded by the $50,000 Hockessin Stakes and a third-level optional-claiming race and is followed by the Grade 3 Kent Stakes and the $50,000 Carl Hanford Memorial.

There are rolling daily doubles and pick threes throughout the five-race sequence and a pick four that begins with the Hockessin and concludes with the $200,000 Kent. The card will be streamed live on DRF.com.

The Kent, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds, is about as wide open as an eight-horse race can be and matches horses from the barns of Steve Asmussen, Chad Brown, Mike Maker, Shug McGaughey, Bill Mott, and Todd Pletcher.

Converge, trained by Brown, is the only graded stakes winner in the field and has made his last four starts in graded company. Four-time winner Keystoneforvictory, trained by Maker, is the only horse in the field with more than two victories. And American Patriot, conditioned by Pletcher, has the best last-out Beyer Speed Figure, an 89 he earned in winning a first-level optional claimer going the Kent distance at Belmont Park.

Mott’s runner, Mighty Mo, did not run his best race last out while finishing fourth in the Paradise Creek Stakes at Belmont in May. He tracked a loose-on-the-lead Too Discreet in that seven-furlong grass sprint and then flattened out in the stretch.

Too Discreet set tepid fractions of 23.05 and 46.07 seconds before coming home quickly with a final three furlongs in 34.21 en route to a final clocking of 1:20.28. Mighty Mo may fare better in this longer race that should be run in a more even manner. He figures to be either on the front end or tracking Keystoneforvictory.

Two starts back, Mighty Mo finished second by a neck to Highland Sky in the Woodhaven Stakes at Aqueduct. Highland Sky has since finished second by a neck to Camelot Kitten in the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge at Belmont Park and second by a neck to Deauville last Saturday in the $1.25 million Belmont Derby.

Three starts ago, Mighty Mo won a Gulfstream Park maiden race over Sir Dudley Digges, who has since won the $1 million Queen’s Plate for Maker.

Edgar Prado, who won the $200,000 Robert Dick Memorial at Delaware last Saturday, has the mount on Mighty Mo. It would be fitting if Mott were to win the Kent, as last week a horse he trains, Suffused, was shipped to Delaware but had to be scratched from the Dick Memorial after the track’s third-party Lasix administrator failed to treat her with the anti-bleeding medication.

Inspector Looney, trained by McGaughey, and Madtap, trained by Asmussen, should both appreciate the added distance of the Kent. In their most recent starts, they closed well to be second going a mile in allowance company. Inspector Looney overcame a very wide trip in his race.

◗ Chief Istan merits attention in the Hockessin, a six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and up. He came into the Mr. Prospector at Monmouth Park last out undefeated in three starts but was finished early and badly beaten. Based with Larry Jones at Delaware, he has since worked five furlongs and may well return to form Saturday.

◗ Catcha Rising Star finished second to the graded-stakes-winning Onus in a course-record performance at Belmont while making her 4-year-old debut. She is well spotted by Graham Motion in this 7 1/2-furlong optional claimer on turf.

◗ The late-running Kid Cruz will be favored in the Hanford Memorial, a 1 1/16-mile dirt race for 3-year-olds and up.

Kid Cruz had won two stakes in a row before finishing seventh in the Grade 2 Brooklyn going 1 1/2 miles on Belmont Stakes Day. Kid Cruz can be a bit lazy at times, but jockey Jose Ortiz knows him well and is sure to keep him properly motivated in the Hanford.

◗ Warrioroftheroses is an all-or-nothing type of runner. He comes into the Hanford off an eight-length optional-claiming victory at Delaware for trainer Damon Dilodovico and is sure to gun for the lead.

◗ Bodhisattva broke a seven-race losing streak dating back to his Federico Tesio Stakes victory in April 2015 while being reunited with trainer Jose Corrales last out. Bodhisattva rallied from 12 lengths back in the Pimlico optional claimer to win by 3 3/4 lengths and earn a career-best 94 Beyer.

“I was expecting him to run well last time, but I wasn’t expecting him to really come out the way he did,” Corrales said. “I wanted to make one move, and the jockey rode him the way I wanted, and it was a good result.”

Taylor Hole rides again Saturday.