Maywood Park (4/17/10)
Contact: Tom Kelley
DELCO WILLOBEE IMPRESSIVE IN SPORTSMASTER STAKE WIN
Maywood Park kicked off its 2010 stake season on Friday night with the $9,000 Sportsmaster Stake for three-year-old pacing colts taking center stage. When the smoke cleared from this battle the Jesse De Long owned and trained Delco Willobee emerged victorious, circling the field on the final turn, en route in to a convincing 3 ¼ length victory in a career best of 1:56.0.
|Delco Willobee and driver John De Long were all alone at the finish of Friday's $9,000 Sportsmaster Stake at Maywood Park.|
Given a smart steer by driver John De Long, the gelded son of Ft. Apache Hanover-Kabrina Willowbee was placed in mid-pack through the early going as Southern Sport (Tim Curtin) and Come Home Honey (Robert Smolin) waged a needless war for front end control.
With the top pair ripping through splits of 27.3 and 57.1, De Long moved his charge to the outside as the field rolled by the halfway mark.
“I could see that those two up front were going at it right from the start and I couldn’t believe how things were working out for us,” said a jubilant John De Long in the winner’s circle. “I wanted to give my horse every chance in the world to win this race but I didn’t want to brutalize him coming back from the layoff and things worked out perfectly.”
With the suicide speed duel finally starting to take a toll on the top pair, driver Marcus Miller tipped One Chaser three wide around the tiring leaders, providing perfect cover for De Long and Delco Willobee as the field scooted by the three-quarter-mile mark in 1:26.4.
After watching One Chaser clear to the front midway around the final bend, De Long and Delco Willobee then kicked it into high gear as they proceeded to speed right by the tired group of sophomores for an impressive victory. Southern Sport turned in a game effort to fight back for the second place check while NJ’s Super Charger (Todd Warren) rallied late to finish third.
After the race De Long was singing the praises of Delco Willobee while contemplating just how good his charge could be.
“He really trained well and he qualified well in preparation for this so I expected a big try from him tonight,” said the winning reinsman. “I never even touched him tonight so there’s no telling how much more he could have gone if needed. He’s staked to everything here in Illinois this season so I guess we’ll get the chance to see.”
Delco Willobee spent his two-year-old season on the Illinois fair circuit, compiling an eye catching record of 8-3-0 in 12 starts and it definitely appears as though bigger and better things are in this gelding’s immediate future.
Post time every Thursday and Friday at Maywood Park is 7:10 pm (central). For more information visit www.maywoodpark.com or call (708) 343-4800.