Breed them to run... Breed them to win

Poppy's Salsa Dead-Heats in Delaware Debut

When entries were taken for yesterday's second race at Delaware Park, the track's line-maker listed first-timer Poppy's Salsa at 6-1. The 3-year-old colt by Two Step Salsa had several useful workouts on his tab, but nothing to excite the serious handicapper. However, on the first flash of the tote board, Poppy's Flash was up there at an eye-opening 3/5. Slowly, as the betting continued toward post time, the colt's price went higher, until he was right about at his morning line as the field entered the gate for the six-furlong race. Jockey Gerald Almodovar gunned Poppy's Salsa out of the gate and the colt took the lead, and when the field hit the top of the stretch, only Live Oak Plantation's King of Night had a chance to catch him. The two battled head-and-head in the lane, and King of Night took a short lead nearing the wire, but Poppy's Salsa dug in gamely and at the finish it was "too close to call." The judges took an interminable amount of time looking at the photo before determining there was a dead heat and Poppy's Salsa became Two Step Salsa's 27th winner of the year. Surprisingly, from the time the race began until it ended, Poppy's Salsa had drifted up to 15-1. He paid $13.40, $13.20 and $7.80 and whomever made that early wager to drop him to 3/5, no doubt took his family out for an expensive dinner.