07/17/2012 3:32PM

Awesome Maria will face Royal Delta in Delaware Handicap

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Tom Keyser
Awesome Maria will attempt to defeat Royal Delta for the second time this season in Saturday's Delaware Handicap.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -- Trainer Todd Pletcher confirmed Tuesday that Awesome Maria would run in Saturday’s $750,000 Delaware Handicap, where she will meet Royal Delta.

Awesome Maria defeated Royal Delta by eight lengths in the Sabin at Gulfstream in February. Awesome Maria had a six-race winning streak snapped when she finished third to It’s Tricky in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps at Belmont on May 28.

Pletcher said one of the reasons he is running in the Delaware Handicap is because there is not a graded option at Saratoga until the $600,000 Personal Ensign on Aug. 26. This year, NYRA scraped the Ruffian, usually run the second weekend of the meet.

“It’s a significant race and with the omission of a quality race at Saratoga for older mares you got to look elsewhere,” Pletcher said. “That’s the kind of race she should be running in.”

Pletcher, a four-time Delaware Handicap winner, said he would also enter Love and Pride, the winner of the Obeah at Delaware in her last start.