Saturday, January 13, 2007 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . January 13, 2007 . . . An aggressive Mary Delaney gave jockey Julien Leparoux plenty to do in the Wishing Well Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday, but the work paid off with a half-length victory, the first stakes win for the filly.
Full of energy in the paddock, Mary Delaney served notice in the post parade when she unseated Leparoux, who quickly climbed back aboard. She broke from post 10 and was first out of the gate, but Leparoux took her back to third with just enough hold to contain her without frustrating her. She followed scorching fractions of :21.80 and :44.59 set by Harmonic Miss before Leparoux let her go coming into the turn.
Mary Delaney took the lead halfway through the six-furlong sprint and then widened her advantage to open lengths in mid-stretch. The energy-saving strategy paid off nearing the wire as Mary Delaney held off the powerful closing kick of Mocha Queen, who ran out of room and settled for second. Asyouwish closed from last to finish third, another length back. Final time for the race was 1:09.37.
"I didn't want her running too quickly early in the race because the pace was really, really hot, and I wanted to save some horse," said winning trainer Eddie Kenneally. "She was aggressive very early in the race but Julien was able to get her to relax some. She's not the easiest filly to ride. I was concerned, thinking maybe we were too quick in the beginning, that we wouldn't have enough left in the tank to hold off the closers. But fortunately she did have enough left."
Completing the order of finish were Golden Voice, Evasive, Seeinsbelieven, Cecelia Rose, Harmonic Miss, Stormy Arctic, Lively Classic, and Trick Buster. Culpeper Moon scratched. Sparkling Humor and Unbridled Melody did not draw in from the also-eligible list.
The 6-5 favorite, Mary Delaney paid $4.60, $3.00, and $2.60. In nine career starts she now has four wins, all on Polytrack at Turfway, Keeneland, and Lingfield in England, where she began her career, as well as two seconds. The $31,000 winner's share from the Wishing Well boosted her earnings to $91,156. A four-year-old daughter of Hennessy, Mary Delaney is owned by Fergus Galvin. Kenneally plans to give her a break over the winter before a likely next start at Keeneland in the spring.
The win was the fifth of the day and the second consecutive Turfway stakes win for Leparoux, who also won last Saturday's Turfway Prevue.
Racing continues Sunday at Turfway with first post at 1:10 p.m.