January 22, 2022

Speed a common trait among top contenders in Obeah

Miss Marissa
Miss Marissa wins the Black Eyed Susan (Jim McCue/Maryland Jockey Club)

Obeah S. — Delaware Park Race 8 (4:45 p.m. ET)

An abundance of speed is one notable characteristic among the early entries in Wednesday’s $100,000 Obeah S. at Delaware Park, a 1 1/16-mile test for fillies and mares which serves as the leading local prep for the Delaware H. (G2) on July 10.

Indeed, speed appears to be concentrated among those fillies and mares with the most back class in the Obeah field. Crystal Ball, second by a neck in last year’s Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), exits back-to-back allowance wins at Santa Anita and Churchill Downs for owner WinStar Farm, which recently transferred the daughter of Malibu Moon from the embattled Bob Baffert to Rodolphe Brisset.

“She is doing really good and we are really happy with her,” Brisset said. “She has had two nice victories and has worked nicely since, so we are extremely pleased with her.

“We all know a new surface like Delaware Park can be a little tricky, but if she handles the track and runs well, the Delaware H. is certainly a possibility.”

Miss Marissa, who toppled the heavily favored Bonny South in last fall’s Black-Eyed Susan (G2) at Pimlico, enters off a significant layoff since a close second-place finish in the Ladies H. at Aqueduct on Jan. 17. Graceful Princess, meanwhile, enters off the best performance of her career when beaten a neck by Bonny South in the April 16 Doubledogdare (G3) at Keeneland. The multiple graded-placed Bajan Girl is another with early foot, though she was out-hustled by Shedaresthedevil in a fourth-place run in the La Troienne (G1) last out.

There are also appears no shortage of capable rivals who will attempt to rally from off the pace. Queen Nekia, who captured the Royal Delta (G3) in February, didn’t have much pace to run at when last seen in the Top Flight S. at Aqueduct, but could find circumstances much different on a track she has won over five times in 10 attempts. The multiple stakes-winning Lucky Stride fared better in the Top Flight, finishing third, while her poor run last out in the Allaire duPont Distaff (G3) seems best ignored.

The Ian Wilkes-trained Market Rumor, second to Crystal Ball in the aforementioned Churchill allowance, looms a serious threat, while Steve Asmussen’s stakes newcomer Jilted Bride enters off a productive Oaklawn Park meet where she won twice and placed second in three allowance tries.