WinStar Farm’s Dark Nile seemed to enjoy the sloppy surface at Delware Park as she skipped across the wire about 1 1/2 lengths in front in Saturday’s Grade 3, $ 300,000 Delaware Oaks. The sophomore daughter of Pioneerof the Nile covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:46 2/5 for trainer Arnaud Delacour and jockey Daniel Centeno.
“Before the weather, we were planning on breaking, settling, follow the speed and making one run, but after the weather, I did not want to be far back,” said winning rider Daniel Centeno. “Down the backside she was dragging me. She was getting a little tired in the end, but they may been because we started a little early. But she was dragging me.”
Dark Nile broke sharply from the center of the field of sophomore fillies, but was shuffled back to fourth early on as Browse, Miss Inclusive and Eighth Wonder rushed for the lead toward the first turn. Browse was the half-length leader as she passed the quarter-mile mark in :23 flat, with Eighth Wonder pressuring her from the outside. Approaching the half-mile point in :46 4/5, Dark Nile moved up around Miss Inclusive to be third, the settled again under Centeno. Rounding the turn, Dark Nile began her bid along the outside as Eighth Wonder dropped back sharply.
At the top of the stretch, Dark Nile had put away the early leader Browse, and held a one-length advantage over Kinsley Kisses in second. A Place to Shine, claimed for just $ 12,500 two starts back, also seemed to be enjoying the sloppy surface and made a strong late bid toward Dark Nile, but the Delacour trainee felt the pressure and skipped away again, crossing under the wire about 1 1/2 lengths in front of A Place to Shine. Kinsley Kisses had to settle for third, and Miss Inclusive was fourth.
Bred in Pennsylvania by Blackstone Farm, Dark Nile was a $ 135,000 Keeneland September purchase for WinStar Farm. The Delaware Oaks was her first start in graded stakes company, and is her fourth consecutive victory. Her career record stands at four wins from five starts, with earnings of over $ 240,000.
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