Dean Delivers #1 leads all the way in the Grade 3 Smile Sprint (Coglianese Photo)
Saratoga Race Course Notes
SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Stonehedge’s Florida-homebred Dean Delivers, trained by Michael Yates, looks for a victory at the Grade 1 level in Saturday’s $350,000 Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap, a six-furlong sprint over the main track for 3-year-olds and up at Saratoga Race Course.
Dean Delivers sports a 16-5-7-1 lifetime record, most recently scoring by 2 1/4-lengths in the Grade 3 Smile Sprint going six furlongs on July 1 at Gulfstream Park. The performance garnered a 100 Beyer Speed Figure, building upon a 99 received on May 20 when the chestnut opened up against fellow Florida-breds in Gulfstream’s seven-furlong Big Drama.
“It’s a very good number. He ran a big race. Everything [in his prior starts] had been seven furlongs and a mile,” said Yates. “It was good to get him back to three quarters, where it looks like it’s been his best numbers to date.”
The Vanderbilt will mark the 4-year-old’s Grade 1 debut and also his first start outside of Florida. The race is a step up in class for Dean Delivers, matching up against 2022 Champion Male Sprinter Elite Power and Grade 1-winner Gunite, among others.
“The last stakes he won in Florida gave him bonus money for the Breeders’ Cup and the horse is doing really good, but there’s very few races to choose from going three quarters of a mile,” said Yates. ” So, we decided to go try this level and see if he is competitive with those horses pointing towards the Breeders’ Cup.”
Dean Delivers is by Cajun Breeze, who was trained by Yates and ran in 33 races from 2010 to 2014, winning four. Cajun Breeze ran in the 2012 Smile Sprint, then a Grade 2 race, before shipping to Saratoga and placing second in an allowance race at six furlongs.
“It is very rewarding, and it’s been a full-circle deal. A lot of years and a lot of tears,” explained Yates, who seeks his first graded stakes at Saratoga, a task he hints would add to the track’s “Graveyard of Champions” nickname.
Emisael Jaramillo will retain the mount on Dean Delivers, breaking from post six and carrying 120 pounds. Jaramillo has piloted Dean Delivers in his last two starts, winning both outings.