Miss Marissa Much The Best In Delaware Handicap

Miss Marissa upset the favorite Bonny South and added her name to the long list of great fillies and mares to win the historic Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park in Wilmington, Del. Grabbing an early lead, Miss Marissa and jockey Daniel Centeno controlled the pace, maintained a steady one-length lead, and had no trouble holding off Gibberish and Queen Nekia in the stretch to win by a length and a half.

Out of the gate, Gibberish grabbed a short half-length lead over Miss Marissa, but Centeno pushed his gray 4-year-old filly to the front, with Gibberish and Saracosa just behind her. Through the backstretch, Miss Marissa maintained her advantage, with the favorite Bonny South moving up to fourth. With the first quarter in :25.15 and the half-mile in :50.10, Centeno held his mount steady, saving plenty for the stretch run.

Into the final turn, Dream Marie made her move on the outside of Gibberish, but no one could catch the eventual winner today. Despite an open rail for Queen Nekia, Miss Marissa was too good, stretching her lead to a length and a half as they approached the wire. Behind her, Gibberish held off Queen Nekia for second with Dream Marie, Bonny South, and Saracosa rounding out the field. Final Cut was scratched. The final time for the mile and a quarter was 2:04.50.

Find this race’s chart here.

Buoyed by his filly’s win, Centeno praised Miss Marissa’s performance “I talked to Jimmy (Ryerson) before the race and the plan is like we always do which is to try and break well and stay close to the lead,” said winning rider Daniel Centeno. “I knew there was not much speed today, but she broke really really sharp today. After we went to the lead, she started galloping right away. She did it herself, she fired and she just put them away.”

Ryerson was similarly thrilled by how Miss Marissa handled the mile and a quarter. “She cruises at a relatively high speed and she does have the ability to relax, which is what she needed to do today,” Ryerson said. “That is the reason why we came. We figured she had won a couple of races at mile and an eighth and not many had done that. Who has a better chance of winning a mile and quarter race than a horse that has won a couple going a mile and an eighth? We will probably run her in the big race at Saratoga (Personal Ensign). We have stalls there and she has run well there. It will be a monster race, but now that we have won this race, we need to try it against the bigger fish on our home track.”

Bred by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Miss Marissa is a daughter of He’s Had Enough out of the Arch mare Ardara. She was consigned by Woodford Thoroughbreds at the October 2018 Ocala Breeders’ Sale for $11,000 with Antonio Sano purchasing the filly. She is owned by Cammarota Racing LLC and trained by James Ryerson. Her win in the Delaware Handicap is her fifth win in 16 lifetime starts for total winnings of $604,690.

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