Never discount Tim Ritchey or Peter Wasiluk Jr. at Delaware Park.
Chris Sobocinski, spokesman at the Wilmington track, said he wouldn't be surprised to see the Tampa Bay Downs trainers have success this afternoon as the Delaware Park Festival Weekend of Racing kicks off.
Ritchey seeks his second Delaware Oaks win with Bon Jovi Girl, a favorite in the Grade II, $250,000 event (Race 7, 3:57 p.m.). Wasiluk saddles outsiders Jaunty Gale in the Grade III, $200,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial (Race 9, 4:51 p.m.) and Dinner in Odem in the $100,000 R.R.M. Carpenter Jr. Memorial (Race 5, 3:03 p.m.).
"Tim is a fantastic trainer who knows the secret to winning over this course," Sobocinski said. "Bon Jovi Girl is a definite contender who won the (Delaware Oaks) prep. Pete always finds a way to bring a long shot home, whether it's an overnight (race) or in big spots."
Bon Jovi Girl is a 3-1 early line choice among seven 3-year-old fillies going 11/16 miles. She comes off a win in the $75,000 Susan's Girl on June 20 at Delaware Park. Livin Lovin is the 2-1 favorite. Ritchey won the 2007 Delaware Oaks with Moon Catcher.
Jaunty Gale, listed at 15-1, faces graded stakes company for the first time since finishing ninth in the Hillsborough on March 14 in Oldsmar. Winter View is the 9-5 favorite among nine fillies and mares in the 13/8-mile turf test. Dinner in Odem, winner of the $75,000 Chris Thomas Turf Classic on May 2 at the Downs, tries to add to career earnings of $251,107. He has two wins at Delaware Park, including the $55,000 Cape Henlopen Stakes in 2008. Dinner in Odem, also at 15-1, faces seven colts and geldings. Researcher is the 2-1 pick in the 11/16-mile race.
On Sunday, Delaware Park festivities end with the Grade II, $1 million Delaware Handicap. The winner qualifies for the Breeders' Cup in November. Preakness winner Rachel Alexandra bypassed the race in favor of the Haskell Invitational on Aug. 2 at Monmouth Park in Oceanport, N.J. "Obviously, it's disappointing not to have her here," Sobocinski said. "But we have a solid bunch for that race." Trainer Todd Pletcher can win a record-tying fourth Delaware Handicap with Unbridled Belle.
More horses: Nicanor, full brother to 2006 Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, was scratched from today's Virginia Derby with a left hind leg injury. Battle of Hastings goes for his second straight Grade II win in the $750,000 race at Colonial Downs in New Kent. … Downs conditioner Barbara McBride finished one win behind Joseph Davis (20-19) in the trainer standings at Indiana Downs in Shelbyville.
Greyhounds: All-America team captain Hallo Gold Acre makes his Derby Lane debut tonight for Filipelli & O'Donnell in Race 10 (10:07) in St. Petersburg. … Magic City Kennel added a partner and is now Magic City-Mighty Fine.
Information from Times wires was used in this report.