If Thoroughbreds had passports that required stamps at every distinct race track, Bonny South’s would already need extra pages.
Well-traveled? Bonny South checks that box. Meanwhile, she’ll check off another track Saturday when she comes into Delaware Park as the 3/2 morning-line favorite in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap. The 1 ¼-mile race returns to that distance after cutting back to 1 1/8 miles last year due to the pandemic.
Delaware Park marks Bonny South’s eighth different track in her soon-to-be 11-race career. The 4-year-old daughter of Munnings owns two victories at Fair Grounds, and one each at Oaklawn Park and Keeneland. She owns runners-up finishes at Saratoga, Churchill Downs, Pimlico, and – last out in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps – at Belmont Park.
Throw in a couple of fourths at Churchill Downs (in her November 2019 debut) and at Keeneland (in the Grade 1 Ashland Oaks last year), and Bonny South hasn’t missed a superfecta in 10 starts (4-4-0)
“She is a solid horse,” trainer Brad Cox told Delaware Park. “You never really have to make any excuses for her and, hopefully, with a good trip on Saturday, she will get the job done. We have run her at Fair Grounds, Oaklawn, Pimlico, Keeneland, Saratoga, Belmont, and obviously, Churchill, and she has run well at each time regardless of distance. She is just a consistent and solid filly.”
Bonny South kept a low, but consistent profile
A consistent and solid filly who spent much of 2020 overshadowed by age-group counterparts like Swiss Skydiver, Gamine, and Shedaresthedevil. Bonny South found herself in the group just below that powerful trio. That included the likes of Venetian Harbor, Speech, and Envoutante.
Not bad company to keep, but Bonny South pulled her own weight in 2020. She won twice, including in the Grade 2 Fair Grounds Oaks, and finished second three times. One of those came to Swiss Skydiver in the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes at Saratoga. Another was to Envoutante in the Grade 2 Falls City Stakes at Churchill Downs. Even losing by six lengths, Bonny South clocked her career-best 109 Equibase Speed Figure in that race.
This year, she’s 1-for-2, opening her 4-year-old season winning the Doubledogdare Stakes at Keeneland in April. Last month, Bonny South finished a game second by 2 ¾ lengths to Letruska in the Ogden Phipps, reeling in Shedaresthedevil for the place.
Delaware a good Grade 2 tune-up for Saratoga
Cox plans using the Delaware Handicap as a tune-up for bigger game along the Eastern Seaboard ahead. He said a good showing here puts her in line for one of Saratoga’s biggest filly and mare races — that being the Grade 1 Personal Ensign on the Travers Stakes undercard on Aug. 28.
None of Bonny South’s familiar nemeses are at Delaware Park for the Handicap, where she gives up anywhere from three to seven pounds. The primary threat comes from Queen Nekia (3/1), who finished fourth in the Ogden Phipps and is a Delaware Park veteran. The 6-year-old owns a 5-2-1 record in 10 career starts at Delaware Park, along with Delaware Horse of the Year honors in 2019.