Updated on 09/30/2013 12:00AM

Beldame: Princess of Sylmar upsets Royal Delta

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Barbara D. Livingston
Princess of Sylmar and Javier Castellano go past two-time champion Royal Delta en route to victory in the Grade 1 Beldame on Saturday at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. – The princess has morphed into a queen.

In a finish more surprising for its ease than its result, the 3-year-old Princess of Sylmar glided past two-time champion Royal Delta in midstretch to win Saturday’s Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame Invitational by two lengths at Belmont Park. It was 6 3/4 lengths farther back to Centring in third.

In becoming the first 3-year-old filly to win the Beldame since 2002 – seven 3-year-olds had since tried and failed – Princess of Sylmar won her fourth consecutive Grade 1 race. The win should end any discussion of who will be the champion 3-year-old filly, as Princess of Sylmar also won the Kentucky Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks, and Alabama.

The victory will, however, stir discussion on whether Princess of Sylmar will be supplemented to the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November at Santa Anita.

Even though Princess of Sylmar will get her entry fees to the Distaff paid due to the Beldame being a Win and You’re In race, owner Ed Stanco would still have to pay a $100,000 fee to supplement to the Breeders’ Cup. Stanco had previously said he didn’t want to run in the Breeders’ Cup, and it seemed like he still felt that way after Saturday’s race.

“I really don’t want to stress her; we really don’t want to do that. There are a lot of factors into it,” said Stanco, who does plan to run Princess of Sylmar next year. “I don’t want her to be unhappy. I don’t want her to come back weak next year. We’re going to have to see how she comes out of it. That’ll be the issue.”

Meanwhile, Royal Delta, who has won the last two runnings of the Distaff, most likely will be aimed at a three-peat in that race, according to what her owner, Benjamin Leon, told TVG before the race.

Royal Delta, who had won the Beldame last year after finishing second in it as a 3-year-old, had taken the lead from Roman Invader midway around the turn Saturday after six furlongs in 1:10.53. But she didn’t spurt away under Mike Smith, and Princess of Sylmar, who was much closer to the pace than expected under Javier Castellano, was in striking distance turning for home without being hard-used.

“My filly did it so easy,” Castellano said. “She made me feel like we were in slow motion.”

Princess of Sylmar struck the front in midstretch and edged clear with every stride. She covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.93 and returned $6.20 as the second choice.

“She kept tracking that filly, Royal Delta, all the way,” Castellano said. “Turning for home, I didn’t see Royal Delta take off. My filly just grabbed me, and I let her go, and she opened up. She did it the right way. I’m very satisfied. She’s an amazing filly.”

Smith said Royal Delta stumbled a little bit at the start but picked herself up quickly. He offered no excuse for her being overtaken in the stretch.

“The winner ran a great race, and we didn’t run our best,” Smith said. “The winner ran awesome. I had every chance. From the quarter pole to the wire, we were heads up, and she outstrided me.”