11/15/2011 2:20PM

Woodbine: Delightful Mary making her return

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Barbara D. Livingston
Delightful Mary has not raced since finishing seventh in the Ashland at Keeneland in April.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Delightful Mary, Canada’s champion 2-year-old filly of 2010, returns from a seven-month layoff Thursday at Woodbine in a third-level allowance/$80,000 optional claimer.

Delightful Mary, trained by Mark Casse for owner John Oxley, started four times during her lucrative juvenile season. After landing her six-furlong debut in August, she beat males in a mile and 70-yard allowance by eight lengths, in front-running style.

Delightful Mary prepped for the Breeders’ Cup by running second to Wyomia in the Grade 3 Mazarine Stakes. She went on to finish third behind the future Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old filly, Awesome Feather, in the Grade 1 BC Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs.

Following a winter layoff, Delightful Mary notched her first stakes in the restricted OBS Championship at the Ocala Training Center. She has been sidelined since finishing a fading seventh in the Grade 1 Ashland in April at Keeneland.

Casse said he decided to give Delightful Mary a break during the summer.

“I just wasn’t that crazy with the way she was doing,” Casse recalled. “She wasn’t bad. I actually had her in a stake one day, and I scratched her. We bought her in April of 2010, and she had been in training for a long time. I ended up giving her a couple months off, and sent her to a training center to let her eat some grass.”

Delightful Mary has worked four times here on the Polytrack leading up to this engagement, and will have Luis Contreras aboard for the first time.

“She’s actually been training quite well,” said Casse. “She may not be 100 percent, but she shouldn’t be too far from it. I’m happy with her.”

Rashnaa, a stretch-runner trained by Bob Tiller, placed in all seven of her starts this year, which were all over seven furlongs. She might find the 6 1/2-furlong-distance of this event a little short for her.

Rashnaa wound up third in both the Grade 3 Seaway and Sweet Briar Too Stakes during the summer. She finished second as the favorite in back-to-back races at this level earlier this fall.

Steve Bahen inherits the mount from Contreras on Rashnaa, a daughter of successful sire Tapit.

True Religion and the Casse-trained Retraceable are also in the eight-horse field. They finished third and fourth behind Rashnaa at this level Oct. 19.

My Perfect Ten ended a slump when she rallied strongly for a daylight score in a 6 1/2-furlong optional claimer Oct. 22.