Delightful Mary rallied from off the pace to earn her first graded win in Saturday’s $150,000 Grade 3 Hendrie Stakes, at Woodbine.
The five-year-old daughter of Limehouse, trained by Mark Casse for owner John C. Oxley, came into the Hendrie off a 15-month layoff, but showed no signs of rust surging to the lead in deep stretch to overtake Heavenly Pride for a one-length win.
Man Stuff set swift splits of :21.88 and :44.44 in the six and a half furlong ‘Poly’ stake with Little River stalking from second position down the backstretch. Luis Contreras, recognizing the quick pace, settled Delightful Mary near the back of the pack, with only Acting Naughty, who reared in the gate at the start, behind them.
Delightful Mary moved into contention through the turn as Contreras angled the filly out wide at the quarter pole to find running room before launching a determined bid to collar Heavenly Pride for the win in a final running time of 1:15.54.
Contreras was pleased with the patient trip he engineered for Delightful Mary.
“I was behind the pace and I was waiting until the quarter pole to make my move on the outside,” said Contreras. “She gave me everything at the end.”
Delightful Mary, who last raced on March 3, 2012 when fifth in the Grade 3 Top Flight at Aqueduct, was well prepared for her seasonal debut.
“She was in Ocala all winter and training really well,” said assistant trainer David Adams. “Mark (Casse) had targeted this race for her all along”
Delightful Mary, a Sovereign Award winner as a two-year-old, after finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, banked $90,000 in victory, while improving her record to 6-2-1 from 11 career starts.
She returned $4.30, $3.70 and $3, pairing with Heavenly Pride ($11.30, $5.60) for a $49.60 (8-7) exactor. An 8-7-6 (Starship Universe, $6.40 to show) triactor was worth $133.75. Katie Get Excited completed a $1 Superfecta (8-7-6-3) worth $648.45.