07/17/2012 4:32PM

Awesome Maria will face Royal Delta in Delaware Handicap

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.