Stanton, DE (SportsNetwork.com) - An evenly matched field of eight 3-year-old fillies will do battle Saturday in the $300,000 Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park.
Joint Return, trained by John Servis for Main Line Racing Stable, is the 5-2 morning line favorite for the 1 1/16-mile stakes and will start from post 4 with Kendrick Carmouche riding.
The filly won the Our Mims Stakes at Delaware Park on June 4. She circled the field in winning the mile event by 1 1/4 lengths over Image of Anna.
"I will always try to take advantage of getting a race over the track," said Servis, who won the Delaware Oaks in 2001 with Zonk. "The Our Mims worked out pretty good for us. If I did not use the race, and it was a little quick back, I would be sitting on six weeks between races and the Oaks would be her first time over the track, so the Our Mims helped us in a lot of ways. It got a race into her before the Oaks and she got a race over the track."
Early this year, Joint Return won the Busher Stakes at Aqueduct along with the Calder Oaks. She finished fifth in the Gulfstream Park Oaks and fourth in the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes at Pimlico on May 16.
Joint Return has a career mark of five wins from eight starts for $228,154.
The 7-2 second choice is Fortune Pearl, trained by Graham Motion for owner Zanim Meahjohn. The filly will be ridden by Trevor McCarthy from the outside post.
Third in the Black-Eyed Susan, Fortune Pearl will be making her first start at Delaware Park in the Oaks.
"The Delaware Oaks has been the target race since the Black-Eyed Susan," said Motion, who won the Delaware Oaks in 2000 with Sincerely. "She ran a big race in the Black-Eyed Susan and she has trained at Delaware with this race in mind. I thought it was important for her to be there training on the surface every day. I think that could help her chances. She has been a little bit of a surprise and she has been working well, so we are pretty excited about her."
Fortune Pearl won a 1 1/16-mile allowance race by 2 1/4 lengths at Pimlico on May 2. She has earnings of $92,547 with two wins, two seconds and a third in six lifetime starts.
Trainer Richard Violette will start 9-2 co-third pick Image of Anna in the Oaks for The Elkstone Group. The filly will break from post 6 with Daniel Centeno again in the saddle.
Image of Anna set most of the pace in the Our Mims Stakes before being passed by Joint Return and finishing second. She finished 11th in the Black-Eyed Susan and has won two of six career starts for $92,667.
Also at 9-2 in the program is trainer Kelly Breen's Lady Paradime. The chestnut filly, owned by Triple Crowns Farm, will be ridden by Victor Carrasco from post 2.
Lady Paradime is coming off an 11th-place finish in the Acorn Stakes on Belmont Stakes Day and has three wins in seven starts for $91,887.
Here is the field for the Delaware Oaks in post position order: Pixie Dust, Alex Cintron, 10-1; Lady Paradime, Victor Carrasco, 9/2; Honey's Ryan, Kerwin Clark, 12-1; Joint Return, Kendrick Carmouche, 5/2; Aibhilin, Edwin Rivera, 15-1; Image of Anna, Daniel Centeno, 9/2; Vero Amore, Frankie Pennington, 5-1 and Fortune Pearl, Trevor McCarthy, 7/2.
The Delaware Oaks has an approximate post time of 5:15 p.m. ET.