Up-and-Coming Stakes Winners Face Off in Vagrancy Handicap

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

May 10th, 2018

The Kentucky Derby might be behind us, but the spring racing season is well underway and another big weekend is already on the horizon.

The May 12th card at Belmont Park is a high-quality day of racing featuring five stakes races, four of them graded. You’ll have to tune in early to watch them all since the first—the $200,000 Vagrancy Handicap (gr. III)—is the third race of the day, with a projected post time of 2:34 p.m. Eastern.

Six fillies and mares have been entered in the 6 ½-furlong sprint, with one of the most accomplished being Chalon. Racing for Lael Stables, the daughter of Dialed In ran second in both the Thoroughbred Club of American Stakes (gr. II) and the Raven Run Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland last fall while being trained by Peter Miller; subsequently, she was transferred to the barn of Arnaud Delacour and recently returned from a layoff to win the Primonetta Stakes at Laurel Park in a sharp performance. Regular rider Paco Lopez has the mount.

But although Chalon is more accomplished, favoritism in the wagering could go to the up-and-coming Sounds Delicious, who is 1 ¼ lengths away from being unbeaten in seven starts. She’s never crossed the wire in worse than second place and has won five races by a combined margin of more than 35 lengths, including the six-furlong Correction Stakes at Aqueduct two months ago. The Linda Rice-trained filly did suffer a slight setback when beaten a length in the seven-furlong Distaff Handicap (gr. III) last time out, but Sounds Delicious should appreciate the slight cutback in distance and could be tough to run down as the likely pacesetter.

Sounds Delicious’ stablemate Holiday Disguise, who rallied from mid-pack to win the Distaff Handicap, is likewise 5-for-7 in her career and looms as the main challenger from off the pace, though four of her wins have come going seven furlongs or longer and she’ll have to be sharp to maintain her edge over Sounds Delicious at this shorter distance.

Swing and Sway, a two-time stakes winner at Oaklawn Park this year, ships in for trainer Ron Moquett and has the advantage of versatility—she is fast, but can win from off the lead if necessary. Completing the field are Ascertain, winner of a Gulfstream allowance race for trainer Todd Pletcher, and Kirby’s Penny, a Wesley Ward filly that has not finished out of the exacta in her last seven starts.