Not only are the top three finishers from the Molly Pitcher Stakes at Monmouth back in the $100,000 Royal Delta Stakes on Sunday, but the race shape in the Sunday feature at Belmont Park looks much the same as in the July 29 Molly Pitcher.
Favored Divine Miss Grey got caught up in a hot pace and faded to third in the Molly Pitcher. Berned, who got a great trip under Joe Bravo, bid off the far turn, opened a clear lead at the stretch call, and held on by three-quarters of a length over late-running Dreamcall.
On paper, there is plenty of pace in the Royal Delta, a 1 1/16-mile dirt race restricted to horses who haven’t won a Grade 1 or a Grade 2 during 2018. Divine Miss Grey will be susceptible to negative race dynamics again, while Berned and Dreamcall should get good runs. The difference from the Molly Pitcher will be in price, with Berned and Dreamcall, 4-1 and 5-1 last time, going down and Divine Miss Grey’s odds rising.
Post time for the Royal Delta, race 8, is set for 5:18 Eastern. Divine Miss Grey was entered for the main track only Saturday at Parx Racing in the Dr. James Penny, but that turf race is expected to remain on grass.
Dreamcall, by Midnight Lute
Last 3 Beyers: 85-83-79
◗ She was coming fastest late in the Molly Pitcher and would have caught Berned in a few more strides. It’s possible her sustained run – which also was effective two starts ago at Prairie Meadows – will be abetted by the vast Belmont Park oval.
◗ She has never raced at Belmont but has been based with trainer Steve Asmussen’s string there since before the Molly Pitcher and has logged four interim works over the main track.
Berned, by Bernardini
Last 3 Beyers: 87-78-88
◗ Talented enough, but her ideal distance range appears to be narrow. She struggles to muster the speed to win against fast horses at seven furlongs and doesn’t solidly stay two turns at the graded-stakes level.
◗ Bravo has ridden Berned the last three times (and has two wins), which is important since her run must be properly timed. He just got it right at Monmouth and can’t afford to pounce on the pace too soon Sunday with Dreamcall looming behind.
◗ Didn’t fire in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont in June but won her maiden over the surface.
Divine Miss Grey, by Divine Park
Last 3 Beyers: 77-95-83
◗ Prolific winner (9 for 19) just doesn’t rate much going long and lacks the stamina to go a fast pace and stay this distance. She’ll need to ease off the speed of Come Dancing and try not to take too much outside pressure from Frostie Anne to race efficiently.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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