09/27/2012 1:55PM

Belmont: Mott looks for a winning Breeders' Cup prep from Royal Delta

Barbara D. Livingston
Royal Delta already secured her berth to the Breeders’ Cup by winning the Delaware Handicap in July.

ELMONT, N.Y. – Trainer Bill Mott has never won the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes, but the race has certainly served him well when it has come to the Breeders Cup.

Ajina (1997), Unrivaled Belle (2010), and Royal Delta (2011) all finished second in the Beldame before winning the Ladies’ Classic – called the Distaff when Ajina won it.

“I’d like to change that around a little bit one year,” Mott said Thursday morning at Belmont Park. “I’d love to try to win a Breeders’ Cup coming off a win in the Beldame rather than a second in the Beldame.”

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Mott gets a another chance to win the Beldame on Saturday when he sends out Royal Delta against multiple Grade 1 winner It’s Tricky and perhaps five others in the $400,000 race run at 1 1/8 miles over the main track. The Beldame is the first of five Grade 1 stakes on Belmont’s Super Saturday program, and the winner earns an automatic berth into the Ladies’ Classic on Nov. 2 as part of the Breeders’ Cup’s Win and You’re In program.

Last year, Royal Delta entered the Beldame off a powerful 5 1/2-length victory over It’s Tricky in the Alabama at Saratoga. She ran into a razor-sharp Havre de Grace, who beat Royal Delta by 8 1/2 lengths over a sealed, muddy surface.

Royal Delta already secured her berth to the Breeders’ Cup by winning the Delaware Handicap in July, but she is coming off a loss to Love and Pride in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga on Aug. 26.

The complexion of the Personal Ensign changed when It’s Tricky stumbled at the start and Love and Pride, in receipt of 10 pounds from Royal Delta, dictated the pace while Royal Delta came a bit wide and her rally fell a half-length short.

Saturday, Royal Delta figures to work out a stalking trip behind Cash for Clunkers and It’s Tricky.

“It looks like there’ll be an honest pace,” Mott said. “I don’t think there’s a problem if there’s an honest pace.”

One problem could be track condition. Given the forecast for an inch of rain on Friday, there could be a wet track on Saturday. Mott said he felt his filly “was compromised” by a muddy track in last year’s Beldame.

Conversely, a wet track could benefit It’s Tricky, who won last year’s Grade 1 Acorn over a muddy track. She also won the Grade 2 Distaff in the mud at Aqueduct earlier this year.

Moreover, It’s Tricky is undefeated in four starts around one turn, which could also give her a slight edge in the Beldame.

“When you run against Royal Delta it’s always tough, but if anybody looks like they like [one turn] we do,” Kiaran McLaughlin, the trainer of It’s Tricky, said. “She’s undefeated here around one turn, and we don’t mind if it rains.”

It’s Tricky was severely compromised in the Personal Ensign when she went to her knees leaving the starting gate, yet she still ran well enough to be third.

“Obviously, very unfortunate break last time, and we gave nine pounds to the winner, but Royal Delta gave 10 pounds,” McLaughlin said. “Hopefully it’s a whole different scenario and hopefully we break well.”

It was unclear as of Thursday which of the other five entrants would definitely run. Trainer Todd Pletcher said if the track is wet, he is more likely to run Disposablepleasure and scratch Maristar. On a dry track he said both, one, or neither could start.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said a wet tack would be a positive for Acting Happy.

Go Unbridled, trained by Allen Jerkens, will run regardless of track condition. She won an off-the-turf New York-bred stakes on a wet track here last year. This will be her first start in a Grade 1 race.

Cash for Clunkers, who won an overnight stakes in the mud here in May, was second to It’s Tricky in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps here but hasn’t run since finishing last in the Delaware Handicap.