Stretching out to a mile and half for the first time in his 16-start career, O Dionysus battled for the lead the majority of the trip and proved gritty late to win the $75,000 Cape Henlopen Stakes by a head at Delaware Park on Saturday, July 7. He set a course record in the process, getting the distance in 2:25.99 over the firm turf while recording his third career stakes win.
The 4-year-old son of Bodemeister owned by Marathon Farms Inc. and trained by Gary Capuano remains perfect in three starts on the turf, having scored in allowance company at Pimlico in May and Delaware Park in June. Earlier in his career he captured the Christopher Elser Memorial Stakes at 2 and Miracle Wood Stakes at 3. Four times he finished second in stakes company, most memorably missing by a nose to Irish War Cry in the Marylander Stakes at Laurel to conclude his juvenile season.
Off 10 months after finishing second in the 2017 Federico Tesio Stakes, he returned in February of this year but didn’t get back to the winner’s circle until May. He now has three wins in his last four starts – the only blemish a fourth-place finish in the off-the-turf Grade 3 Dixie Stakes, run on a sloppy track at Pimlico on Preakness Day. With a record of six wins, five seconds and a third, he has earnings of $335,099.
O Dionysus was the highest-priced colt sold at the 2015 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall Yearling sales when purchased for $190,000 by Peter Angelos. He is one of three stakes performers for the winning Flatter mare Safe Journey, who has also produced multiple stakes winner and $250,544-earner Joy and stakes-placed $153,080-earner Combat Diver. O Dionysus represents three generations bred by Dark Hollow Farm, descending from David and JoAnn Hayden’s foundation mare Safely Home. His second dam, stakes-placed Safe At the Plate, is a half-sister to Breeders’ Cup winner, champion sprinter and Hall of Famer Safely Kept and graded stakes winner and sire Partner’s Hero.
Safe Journey produced a full brother to O Dionysus in 2016, named Tauber, who sold for $280,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale, and has a yearling colt by Malibu Moon.