Six horses were within 1-1/4 lengths of Delmarvalous, but he and Brian Sears were able to hold off the wide Versado, the 7-5 favorite who had trouble keeping up with cover until finding his best stride in deep stretch, by a half-length. Pang Shui was third, a half-length back in the Lightning Lane.
The victory, the first of the year for Delmarvalous in nine starts, was worth $250,000 to Badlands Racing, George Teague, Jr., Elmer Fannin and Howard Dorfman, who own the Badlands Hanover-Prymetyme Scootie colt.
At 2, Delmarvalous won eight of 11 races, including an Arden Downs-Governor Lawrence division at The Meadows on 2009 Adios Day, and appeared to be headed for national prominence. Despite his sluggish start at 3, trainer George Teague, Jr. refused to diss him.
“He hasn’t been very lucky,” Teague said. “He’s had some bad trips, and he’s a little bit hot, a little bit hard to control. So we opened him up, made a couple changes where we tried to find a happy medium where he’s quiet enough to govern his speed a little bit but still keep him moving forward.”
For all that, Delmarvalous seemed up against it when he drew post eight, with plenty of speed inside him, plenty of speed outside him, including Rockin Image, winner of the fastest elimination, in post nine. Indeed, when Delmarvalous was forced to blaze the first quarter in an almost unthinkable :25.4, it seemed only a matter of time before the cavalry closed in.
That’s what Brett Miller thought when he pulled the pocket with We Will See before the three-quarters. We Will See edged nearly a length in front before Delmarvalous unleashed his marvelous rally.
“I thought I was a winner,” Miller said. “I followed that colt last week, and I felt like I went by pretty easily. With those fractions Sears was going, I thought when I got by him I was the winner. Give Delmarvalous all the credit. You hardly ever see horses at this track go fractions like that and win.”
Sears, however, was not as surprised by his colt’s determination.
“He’s been a real game horse,” Sears said. “He’s been passed before and fought back, although he’s never taken them through fractions like that. He’s a speed horse -- that’s what he likes. He’s been a little outclassed by horses a little better, so he hasn’t been able to make the front. He’s supposed to be the type of horse you saw today.”
Teague indicated Delmarvalous will race next in the Battle of the Brandywine and has the Little Brown Jug in his sights.
Although Versado fell a bit short in his effort to bring the Adios orchids to his all-Pennsylvania connections -- trainer Ron Burke, driver Dave Palone, owners Burke Racing Stable, Mark Weaver, Mike Bruscemi, Howard Taylor and Edwin Gold -- Burke said there was more satisfaction than disappointment in the Keystone State camp.
“Halfway down the stretch, we were sure he would win, sure he would break stride, sure he would finish last, sure he would finish second,” Burke said. “That’s the kind of race you get when you have seven horses that close.
“To be honest, that kind of speed is not his game. We’d have been better off if the fractions were slower and he had his nose on a helmet. He needs to out-grit horses, to be in position where David can out-drive drivers. But he has the Jug and a few other big races left. We’re having fun with him and winning money. That’s what it’s about.”