A convincing winner of the Black-Eyed Susan (G2), Red Ruby will be the one to beat in the $300,000 Delaware Oaks (G3). The Kellyn Gorder-trainee tops a field of 10 sophomore fillies in the 1 1/16-mile test, one of four Saturday stakes races at Delaware Park.
Red Ruby was on target for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) after opening 2018 with a decisive victory in the Martha Washington at Oaklawn Park, but the gray daughter of Tiznow did not fire when following with an odds-on fourth in the Honeybee (G3). Her preparations for the Fantasy (G3) were scrapped when she sustained minor cuts on her leg in a stall incident and connections elected to bypass a Kentucky Oaks bid to give her more time to recover.
The decision paid off nicely in the May 18 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico as Red Ruby returned from the 10-week layoff with a 4 ¾-length romp, displaying good speed from the start and registering a field-best 100 BRIS Speed rating over the sloppy oval. Significant rainfall is possible later in the week and Red Ruby has recorded two of her three wins on off tracks. Paco Lopez retains the mount and Red Ruby should be forwardly-placed from post 9.
Coach Rocks, who sandwiched a Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) win and a Black-Eyed Susan (G2) second around a disappointing seventh in the Kentucky Oaks, scratched from last Saturday’s Mother Goose (G2) at Belmont Park in favor of this spot. The Dale Romans-trained Oxbow filly will receive a rider switch to Rajiv Maragh. Gio Game was no match for divisional leader Monomoy Girl when third in the Acorn (G1) last out, but she posted a nice allowance tally two back and looms a candidate to show more in her second stakes attempt of the season. Julien Leparoux will be up for Mark Casse.
Todd Pletcher has a trio including Peruvian 2-year-old filly champion Cascanueces, who will make her U.S. and 2018 debut for the new barn. A Kentucky-bred daughter of Smart Strike, Cascanueces sold for $51,000 at the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale and rolled to authoritative victories in all three starts last year, including a pair of Group 1s. She adds first-time Lasix and Kendrick Carmouche. Pletcher will also send Mo Shopping, winner of the June 6 Light Hearted at Delaware; and Takechargedelilah, who make her stakes debut following an entry-level allowance triumph at Belmont on May 18.
Completing the field are Light Hearted runner-up Blue Strike; last-out Delaware Park allowance scorer Maya Malibu, a Grade 1-placed juvenile for Graham Motion; Tampa stakes winner Prospective Lady; and two-time winner Blue Union Rags.
Multiple Grade 3 winner Tricky Escape tops nine fillies and mares in the 1 3/8-mile Robert G. Dick Memorial (G3) on turf. Other contenders include Creative Thinking, who exits a runaway win in the Keertana at Churchill Downs; Sheepshead Bay (G2) fourth-placer Palinodie; and French stakes heroine Esquisse.
The $75,000 Cape Henlopen kicks off the stakes action at 1 ½ miles on turf and the $75,000 Dashing Beauty, a 6-furlong heat for distaffers, completes the quartet.