Saturday, Delaware Park
, $750,250, DEL, 7-21, 3yo/up, f/m, 1 1/4m, 2:03 2/5, ft.
1--ROYAL DELTA, 124, f, 4, by Empire Maker
1st Dam: Delta Princess (MGSW, $740,918), by A.P. Indy
2nd Dam: Lyphard's Delta, by Lyphard
3rd Dam: Proud Delta, by Delta Judge
($8,500,000 HRA '11 KEENOV). O-Besilu Stables; B-Palides Investments NV Inc (KY); T-William I Mott; J-Mike E Smith; $450,000. Lifetime Record: Ch. 3yo Filly, MGISW, 11-7-2-1, $2,263,851. *Full to Empire Way, GSP, $115,590. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2--Tiz Miz Sue
, 115, m, 5, Tiznow
--Sue's Good News, by Woodman. O/B-CresRan LLC (KY); T-Steve Hobby; $150,000.
, 121, m, 5, Maria's Mon
--Discreetly Awesome, by Awesome Again. O-E Paul Robsham Stables LLC; B-Mrs E Paul Robsham (KY); T-Todd A Pletcher; $82,500.
Margins: NK, 5 3/4, 3HF. Odds: 0.50, 28.30, 1.80.
Also Ran: Love and Pride, Daring Reality, Pachattack, Cash for Clunkers.Click for the brisnet.com chart, the brisnet.com PPs or the free brisnet.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Taylor Made Sales.
For the second consecutive year, the reigning champion 3-year-old filly has raided Delaware Park and has departed with the lion's share of the purse money in the "Win and You're In" event for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic. And while the distance separating heavily favored Royal Delta and the locally based Tiz Miz Sue was slightly greater than the nose of Blind Luck (Pollard's Vision) that got down just ahead of eventual Horse of the Year Havre de Grace (Saint Liam) 12 months ago, the Del 'Cap was full of drama all the same.
Victorious in the 2011 GII Black-Eyed Susan S., Royal Delta was a rusty third to Godolphin's It's Tricky (Mineshaft) in last year's GI CCA Oaks July 23, but atoned for that defeat with a solid score in the GI TVG Alabama S. going this distance Aug. 20. She wasn't able to match the brilliance of Havre de Grace when a distant runner-up to that one in the GI Beldame S. Oct. 1, but, with her older nemesis opting for the GI Breeders' Cup Classic, dominated the market and ultimately the race itself to clinch a divisional title in the Ladies' Classic.
Purchased by Ben Leon's operation for $8.5 million at Keeneland November just a few days later, Royal Delta was pointed for the G1 Dubai World Cup, and resumed with a decent, if unspectacular, second-place effort to Awesome Maria in the GII Sabin S. at Gulfstream Feb. 25. She was the buzz of the Meydan backstretch in the lead-up to the World Cup, but she could not live up to the hype on race night, weakening in the stretch to finish a distant ninth. Trainer Bill Mott was content to let the filly tell him when she was ready to get back to business, and Royal Delta was sent back to Churchill for that track's GII Fleur de Lis H. June 16. Handy to the pace that evening, she dragged new rider Mike Smith to the front with a surprisingly quick move and left her rivals eight lengths behind at the finish.
Love and Pride (A.P. Indy) flashed speed from the outside stall and showed the way under the wire the first time, as Royal Delta stayed down at the fence and Awesome Maria raced four wide past the judge and into the first turn. The pacesetter took them down the backstretch in 1:09.80--faster than most six-furlong races at the track--and began to come back to the field. The composition of the race had changed a bit in the meantime, as Royal Delta was shifted out to about the three path and Awesome Maria had been guided down to the fence, and the two market leaders made simultaneous runs towards the front on the final bend. Royal Delta was clearly doing the better of those two and swept to the lead in upper stretch, but Tiz Miz Sue, who raced on a long rein and with cover for the opening mile, loomed the biggest danger and switched outside to launch her bid. It appeared for a few strides inside the final furlong that she had the favorite's measure, but Royal Delta stuck her neck out and class told in the finish.
"We had to move early, we had to carry a lot weight and she proved to be the best," said trainer Bill Mott of the winner, who gave 10 pounds to the runner-up. "She was game in victory. She did a lot of work around the turn and early in the stretch. She made the lead a little early, but she got it done."