Sterling Vow made a sweeping four-wide move through the turn, emerged with the lead at the eighth pole and galloped home the upset winner of the $50,000 Squan Song Stakes for Maryland-bred fillies and mares Saturday at Laurel Park.
Sterling Vow splashed through the sloppy going to win by three-quarters of a length in 1 minute, 25.54 seconds for the seven-furlong distance.
Finishing second, after working her way through traffic, was post-time favorite Fascinatin' Rhythm. Heaven's Voice rallied up the rail to be third.
The 4-year-old daughter of Broken Vow carried journeyman Alberto Delgado.
The win was the first stakes victory for trainer Ronald Sweeney.
"I thought she had a good shot," Sweeney said. "She's been running hard all year, been running against some nice fillies up the road. We ran her here about 10 days ago [a third-place finish in an allowance race Nov. 25] with this race in mind."
Sterling Vow paid $74.80 and had exacta and triple payoffs of $168 and $811.60, respectively.
"I knew she liked the mud," Delgado added. "She broke very well today. I let her settle down the backstretch and everybody's been kind of winning on the outside so I started to make my move around the turn and she responded well and proved to be best at the end." Delgado, the 1982 Eclipse Award winner as outstanding apprentice, had been in semiretirement before Sweeney persuaded him to return to the irons full-time in November.
"He is the reason I came back," said Delgado, who guided Oliver's Twist to a second-place finish in the 1995 Preakness. "I had been riding here and there but he approached me last month and had a couple runners he wanted me to ride." Since Nov. 14, the 45-year-old has won five races, including Terrific Tom for Sweeney two weeks ago. This is his fourth Squan Song score, winning with Smart 'n Quick (1988) and Wait for the Lady (1991-1992).