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Barbadian trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. (CMC Image)

Joseph wins half-million dollar stakes

July 9, 2024

WILMINGTON, Delaware, CMC – Barbadian trainer Saffie Joseph Jr logged perhaps his most lucrative win of the calendar year when 2-1 choice Honor D Lady stormed to the capture of the US$500 125 Grade II Delaware Handicap in the main feature at Delaware Park.

Going a mile and three-sixteenth for the three-year-old and upward fillies and mares on Sunday, jockey Jose Ortiz stalked with Honor D Lady from third before bidding on the turn, grabbing the lead at the top of the stretch and roaring to the finish 5-½ lengths clear in a time of one minute, 59.86 seconds.

Thirteen-to-one Saddle up Jessie ran on to be second while favourite Wet Paint came from last to snatch third.

For Honor D Lady, the win was her fifth in 13 starts and her third graded success following victory in the Remington Park Oaks last year and the Royal Delta Stakes last February – both Grade III.

“She kinda took the lead a little bit before I wanted her to so I had to kind of grab her and take the momentum away from her,” Ortiz said afterwards.

“But I was sitting on a lot of horse and I appreciate Saffie for giving me the opportunity throughout the year.”

Honor D Lady survived a bump at the break to settle into stride in third, as 6-1 choice Abundancia pulled the field through the quarter mile in an easy 24.07 seconds before completing the half in 49.67.

Malibu Beauty, the longest shot in the race at 51-1, stalked from second with the trio Saddle Up Jessie, Queen of Missoula and Wet Paint keeping close watch on the leaders.

Heading down the backstretch, Ortiz eased Honor D Lady off the rail and into the clear, before surging on the outside to take out both front-runners, and enter the lane in command.

Saddle Up Jessie chased desperately but the four-year-old filly Honor D Lady widened her lead impressively, to reach wire strongly.

Sunday proved a successful day for Joseph as the 37-year-old also saw favourite Stat dismiss the three-year-olds and upward by 1-¾ lengths, to win the $100 000 Soldier’s Dancer Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Ridden by Edgard Zayas, the five-year-old chestnut gelding stalked pacesetter Themanupfront before grabbing the lead passing the eighth pole to pull away.

The victory was one of four for Joseph on the 10-race card as he also took race one with favourite Nate the Great, race seven with 3-1 choice Mrs Gambolini and race eight with favourite Sunroof.

Joseph has stormed to 59 wins in the Gulfstream Park season, to lead the championship by a whopping 29.

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