$500,000 lures Ajina, 'Rhythm' for duel Delaware Handicap purse largest ever at track

July 24, 1998|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Two of the nation's top older fillies and mares, Ajina and Relaxing Rhythm, will meet for the first time Sunday in the $500,000 Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park.

That's right, $500,000 -- the largest purse ever offered at Delaware Park, situated in Stanton just off Interstate 95. The purse for the Delaware Handicap last year was $350,000. The year before it was $150,000.

Of course, slot machines are the force behind the increases. Delaware Park and the state's two other horse tracks began operating them at the end of 1995.

Half a million dollars enticed trainer Bill Mott to enter Ajina in the Grade III, 1 1/4 -mile event. The 4-year-old won an Eclipse Award last year as outstanding 3-year-old filly. Ajina has won three Grade I races, including the $1 million Breeders' Cup Distaff.

An even more intriguing entrant is Relaxing Rhythm, the Pat Byrne-trainee who has never lost. She is 8-for-8 but has never tangled with a foe of Ajina's quality.

In tomorrow's $200,000 Delaware Oaks, a 1 1/16-mile stakes for 3-year-old fillies, Added Gold, winner of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes, and Really Polish, the Gary Capuano-trainee who faltered in the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park, head the field. Added Gold is the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Really Polish is 3-1.

Delaware Handicap

PP, Horse, Trainer, Jockey, Wgt., Odds

1, Ajina, Mott Smith, 120, 2-1

2, Winter Melody, Camac McCarthy, 115, 8-1

3, Amarillo, Forbes Krone, 110, 12-1

4, Timely Broad, Petro Petro, 110, 20-1

5, One Rich Lady, Hough Migliore, 114, 5-1

6, Sweet Misty, Allen Madrid, 111, 30-1

7, Relaxing Rhythm, Byrne Day, 117, 8-5

8, Toop, Coffey Treator, 110, 30-1

9, Tuxedo Junction, Hollendorfer Castillo, 115, 12-1

Pub Date: 7/24/98

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