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.

Leonard More than 1 year ago
Love the addition of Mike Smith and RD responded with and awesome run, I think RD still is improving and look for her to settle who the top mare in the country is, even conceding weight to her rivals will even make the victory more impressive and then we possibly will she RD take on the boys in hef next start but first lets get past the D.C. And save that conversation for her next start.
Don Passidomo More than 1 year ago
And a big thank you to Mr. Mott for not WINE-ING about the "high weight" assigned to his special horse Royal Delta, the connections will be running and accept the conditons...he has shipped to DP before, in fact, I remember a few years back he had a huge favorite running is a big race, was sitting behind me with his owners, and his horse never ran, trotted around the turf course, I recall, and yet last saturday his horse "Starformer" with EPk up won the "RG Dick Memorial $200,+ @ 4-1 , so he must have a good idea other than "Just hearing" bout shipping into DP....one other note in the 5th race MC there was a FTS named "Mott" by Artie Schiller trained by "King" L , looking forward to this Saturday's races and seeing several top of the line fillies. Don
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Rick Porter: Damn it! Royal Delta has to give 2 pounds to It's Tricky. This is ridiculous. This dude has better come up with a public explanation on how he arrives at this number, and it had better not be out of thin air. Larry Jones: Exactly! It's Tricky is a 3-time G1 winner and 3 for 3 including a G1 this year, and Royal Delta is a 2-time G1 winner and 1 for 3 this year beaten 8 lengths twice and finished 9th in her only G1 try this year. Whatever this dude smokes behind his desk, I ain't want it.
Monica Kronberger Horn More than 1 year ago
it's going to be tough to beat the excitement of last year's race, but I'm so glad that the beautiful and talented Awesome Maria will be there to challenge Royal Delta.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
This race will not be close, unless Love and Pride improves yet again which may not be too surprising since she is still lightly raced. She is also a Delaware freak which is a great handicapping angle in finding a horse that will run well in the Delaware Handicap, in the spirit of Unbridled Bell who was a brilliant mare at Delaware Park but just a good mare everywhere else. The daughter of AP Indy could very well run the race of her life going 10 furlongs for the first time. I am willing to place a very big bet counting on her to finish ahead of Awesome Maria. Awesome Maria has always been a cut below the top fillies of her generation. She got beat by Devil Mare Care at 2, and was blown away by both Blind Luck and Havre de Grace at 3. She caught a number of breaks in her impressive 4 for 4 four year old season - fairly weak competition. She managed to catch Unrivaled Belle coming off a 6 month layoff (Bill Mott had a horrible first half of last year with long lay-off horses), and Amen Hallelujah running beyond her optimum distance, and was life and death beating Absintheminded. Love and Pride should be a solid to get place honor behind Royal Delta with the main threat not coming from Awesome Maria but I think Pachattack, the only other filly/mare besides Royal Delta that is proven at this 10f distance. Royal Delta is likely to romp since she always improves in the second race of her form cycle. She might really like Mike Smith too. I hope to get 4-5 or more on Royal Delta. I could not even believe that she was even money or 4-5 on the tote board forever leading up to the Flour de Lis, dropped to 3-5 at post time but I thought it was still a steal! Even then I did not expect to see the performance that we saw. By the way, Churchill freak Afleeting Lady was a clear second in the Flour de Lis, finishing far ahead of 3-1 second choice in that race, St John's River. Love and Pride is the right filly to complete the exacta in the Del Cap.
Frank Wagenbaugh More than 1 year ago
So then Grass Is Greener, how do you explain away Awesome Maria's romp over Royal Delta two outs ago? I expect RD to run a much better race than that outing, but there's no reason Awesome Maria can't beat her once again regardless. As for your other prediction, I'll happily take you up on that "very big bet" that Love and Pride finishes ahead of Awesome Maria, just name the price.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
I was gonna bet exacta with Royal Delta over Love and Pride and Pachattack (1/5,7), that's the equivalent to trying to beat Awesome Maria for 2nd. I don't think Delaware Park offers a head to head wager option like at Del Mar. The morning line ratio is more than 5-1 in favor of Awesome Maria (9-5 vs 10-1). If you give me a 4-1 odd head to head, I will be bet $1000 for Love and Pride to finish ahead of Awesome Maria, or $500 if you give me a 3-1 odd. If you're only willing to give me a 2-1 odd, I will still bet $20 just to be a sport. If you live in NYC, we can make this happen. Email me at soldat0507 at gmail. It is quite clear why Awesome Maria destroyed Royal Delta in the Sabin: - Royal Delta stumbled at the start at a speed favoring track with the shortest 893ft stretch run in the country. - Gulfstream is far and away Awesome Maria's favorite track - 8.5f appears to be Awesome Maria's favorite distance, she lost ground at the end of her two 9f races that were not run at Gulfstream, her favorite track. Royal Delta's arguably ran her best race in the 10f Alabama, same distance as the Del Cap. - Awesome Maria always fired in her first race back from a layoff every time, while Royal Delta has been notorious for not running her best the first start back. She has shown clear cut to tremendous improvement in all of her second starts of a form cycle.
Frank Wagenbaugh More than 1 year ago
I just don't see it with Love and Pride. To me, it looks like she's only entered to keep Cash for Clunkers honest on the front end, and give Awesome Maria a better chance to close. I will concede that Awesome Maria had favorable conditions over Royal Delta in the Sabin, but 8 lengths is still overly significant. My only concern with Maria is the distance, but if she runs like she did in last years Rampart or even this past Sabin (with her best stride coming late) there should be no problem being in it at the end. Honestly, what caught me off guard was you saying it won't be close. To me, the race sets up as a speed duel between Cash for Clunkers and Love and Pride, with Awesome Maria about a 1-1 1/2 legnths off and Royal Delta about another 1/2-1 off of her. When the two speedsters fade, it comes down to whether or not Royal Delta can outclose Awesome Maria, which see is certainly more than capable of if she runs her best. Honestly, if someone gave me the choice between the two at equal odds, I'd probably slightly lean Royal Delta, but I believe the big money is going to be on RD, so I'll take Awesome Maria at the better price. Unfortunately, I do not live in NYC, but I do have Paypal if you are interested in trying to work something out as far as a head-head wager between Maria and Love and Pride.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
We can do two separate head-to-head wagers: 1) Royal Delta vs Awesome Maria: morning line odd ratio 7/9 2) Love and Pride vs Awesome Maria: morning line odd ratio: 50/9 If you let me have even money on Royal Delta (1), I will accept 3-1 on Love and Pride (2). The apparent (1)/(2) ratio is 4.32-1, so by accepting 3-1, I am conceding quite bit.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Regardles of who wins, I sure hope they either run again in the PE or Royal Delta takes on the boys (should she win) in the Woodward.
Grass Is Greener More than 1 year ago
Surprisingly Todd Pletcher's records were only average when he entered two or more horses in a race.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think it's safe to say Awesome Maria will have better odds.