Trainer Jose Delgado Feels ‘Very Blessed’ By ‘Real Honest’ Stakes Winner The Critical Way

Since he began training The Critical Way in June, Jose H. Delgado has been impressed by how the now-7-year-old gelding brings his ‘A’ game to the races.

“He doesn’t need to prove anything in the morning. My job is just to keep him happy – that’s it,” Delgado said Thursday, a day after The Critical Way won Tampa Bay Downs’ $100,000, five-furlong Turf Dash Stakes by a half-length from Grade 2 winner Imprimis.

The victory clinched the Salt Rock Tavern Trainer of the Month Award for Delgado.

Throughout June and the first week of July, Delgado worked out The Critical Way four times on a weekly basis. But after he returned to competition on Aug. 9 at Monmouth Park for his first start in almost 6 months, Delgado began spacing his workouts at least three weeks apart, with no official workouts between July 25 and Sept. 26.

It seems no coincidence a freshened The Critical Way won the $80,000 Marshall Jenney Handicap for Pennsylvania-breds going 5 furlongs on the turf on Sept. 7 at Parx Racing in gate-to-wire fashion, giving Delgado his first career stakes victory. Then, it was back to a relative life of leisure for the son of Tizway: one official workout before a game second-place finish on Oct. 3 in the Virgil Buddy Raines Stakes at Monmouth.

“I slowed down his training because most of the time, he’s only racing 5 furlongs,” said Delgado, who trains The Critical Way for Randal Gindi’s Monster Racing Stables. “He has a big heart, and he’s been real honest with me and given me everything he has when he’s running. He sprints from the gate like a Quarter Horse, and when he gets the lead he keeps going. He was under pressure the whole time and still had that little kick at the end.”

About a half-hour later, Delgado won the next race, a $6,250 claiming contest, with 6-year-old gelding War Giant, who is owned by the Carole Star Stables concern of his father-in-law, Bob Apicelli. That gave Delgado nine winners during the Trainer of the Month judging period, the most of any candidate.

Delgado has been making a big impression at Tampa Bay Downs, where he trails only Gerald Bennett, 37-27, in the trainer standings. Depriving Bennett of a sixth consecutive title seems like a long shot, but Delgado is happy to be mentioned in the conversation.

Delgado plans to return to Monmouth in May. His wife Robyn and their three children – son Sebastian, 8, and twin 4-year-old daughters Carole and Isabella – live minutes from the racetrack in Oceanport, N.J., where Robyn teaches second-graders.

Although he misses his family dearly, Delgado doesn’t want to trade places with Robyn.

“I give my wife a lot of respect. I think it’s a lot more difficult to raise kids than train horses,” Delgado said, laughing. “Horses don’t talk back, and they do what you ask.”

The ex-jockey, who rode more than 300 winners before hanging up his tack, enjoys trying to discover the keys to turning around claiming horses, attempting to help them regain their previous form.

“They get to the point where they may be going downhill, and you have to help them get their confidence back so they can do the job again,” Delgado said.

When the subject of the Tampa Bay Downs owners title comes up in a telephone conversation (Carole Star Stables leads the standings with 14 victories), you can sense Delgado’s eyes light up.

“I would be really happy and excited if that happened. We’re having a heck of a meet, and everything is working the right way,” said Delgado. “My crew does a great job taking care of the horses. Hopefully, we will keep getting lucky.

“Whatever happens, I feel very blessed.”

The post Trainer Jose Delgado Feels ‘Very Blessed’ By ‘Real Honest’ Stakes Winner The Critical Way appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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