09/30/2012 1:51PM

Belmont: Mott in position to sweep Breeders' Cup Classic, Ladies' Classic again

Tom Keyser
Royal Delta earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 106 for her victory in the Beldame.

ELMONT, N.Y. - At the beginning of 2012, trainer Bill Mott thought it was possible he could get back to the Breeders’ Cup and attempt to duplicate his 2011 feat of winning the $5 million Classic and the $3 million Ladies Classic in the same year.

That possibility became even more realistic with the results at Belmont Park of Saturday’s major stepping-stones towards the Breeders’ Cup which will be held Nov. 2-3 at Santa Anita.  

Royal Delta, who won last year’s Ladies’ Classic, cemented her status as the favorite for this year’s Ladies’ Classic with a devastatingly easy 9 1/2-length victory in the Grade 1 Beldame.

 Meanwhile, Flat Out earned his way back to the Breeders’ Cup Classic  - a race in which he finished fifth as the favorite last year - with a persevering head victory over Stay Thirsty in the $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup. Mott, who took over the training of Flat Out this year, won last year’s $5 million Classic with Drosselmeyer.

“It’s pretty tough to duplicate, but if everything goes well I guess it could happen,” Mott said of winning both the Ladies’ Classic and Classic, something only he had John Shirreffs (2009) have done in the 28-year history of the Breeders’ Cup. “But I understand the races don’t get easier.”

 Royal Delta sure made it look easy in the Beldame, moving past It’s Tricky on the middle of the far turn and cruising from there, winning by a large margin despite being geared down by jockey Mike Smith. She did earn a Beyer Speed Figure of 106 for the performance, which could leave some to wonder if she is susceptible to bounce, or regress in the Ladies Classic.

 “I suppose if you’re a sheets guy you always worry about it,” Mott said. “I understand the risk of a horse running that big sometimes they don’t fire back as well the next time.”

Flat Out, who became the 10th horse to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup in back-to-back years, earned a 109 Beyer Speed Figure for this year’s victory. He was coming off a third in the Whitney at Saratoga in which he earned a 108. Last year, Flat Out strung together a four-race series in which he earned Beyers of 113, 106, 109, and 107.

 “He’s a pretty tough, stout sort of horse,” Mott said. “He’s done it before.”

 The biggest challenge regarding Flat Out is the condition of his feet, Mott said.

“His feet are sort of an ongoing challenge. I don’t think you ever have a comfort level where you say everything’s going to be okay,” Mott said. “It’s just a matter of you have to do a lot of work, special shoeing and a little luck.”

Mott also plans to run Ron the Greek and To Honor and Serve in the Classic despite their lackluster performances on Saturday.

 Ron the Greek, who earlier in the year won the Santa Anita Handicap, finished sixth in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Mott said jockey Jose Lezcano told him he didn’t handle the off track, which was labeled good.

 Mott said he is okay with drawing a line through Ron the Greek’s performance in the Gold Cup.

To Honor and Serve, who won the Woodward on Sept. 1, was a dull fourth in the Kelso, run at a mile. Mott said he felt he needed to run the horse in between the Woodward and Breeders’ Cup.

  “I’m not making apologies for running him,” Mott said. “I wish he would have won, but obviously he was a little dull. I don’t think it was a mistake if the goal is the Breeders’ Cup.”

 Owner Mike Repole said he has not made a decision whether to run Stay Thirsty in the Breeders’ Cup. Repole said if he opts not to run, then Stay Thirsty would most likely be retired. Repole is in negotiations to stand the horse as a stallion next year.

 Fort Larned, the Whitney winner who finished third in the Gold Cup, is still being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He was to ship to Churchill Downs, where he will do the bulk of his training.


walter goode More than 1 year ago
royal delta should air in the distaff. if she stays sound during her 5 year old campaign and competes in the classic she should have a big chance to win .
KeenelandCapper More than 1 year ago
royal delta to run in breeders cup classic
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
I am glad to see that Mike Repole is making a rational decision this year. Stay Thirsty has not won a race since the Travers last summer, and he has never won a race outside the state of New York. I watched an interview on HRTV yesterday with Repole. He said the horse thought that he had won and he wanted him to retire on a high note.
Alex More than 1 year ago
One of the most ridiculous things ive read. the horse thought he won, so now is the time to retire him? Repole is a joke.
Rocky More than 1 year ago
Re: Royal Delta: She blew their socks off in a hand ride by Mikey! The ease with which she won was breathtaking. I think she wins the Ladies or even the classic if entered there. We still don't know how good she is. With Feather and Missy in a race with Royal Delta we get the the best fillie match up imaginable. Wish I could go to CA in person. On Stay Thirsty: As an owner you get to say what you do with your horse. WE don't know the reason behind the actions. His Money ,his horse ,his decision!
Allen Joyner More than 1 year ago
I agree...but would like to add we don't know how good Feather is either, and she has never been beat, while Delta has lost 6 races. In case you did not see it, check our Feather's race at Belmont a couple of weeks ago..a 1:33.2 mile, 108 Beyer, not asked for much: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPeOZD3cyA8
Allen Joyner More than 1 year ago
This years Ladies Classic is shaping up as one of the best fields ever. Royal Delta will be favored, yes. But she won't have an easy time with the great little filly Awesome Feather, who ran just as an impressive race at Belmont with even a better Beyer a week earlier. And let's not forget Questing, My Miss Aurelia and Love and Pride, who beat Delta in the Personal Ensign and was an impressive winner at Santa Anita Saturday. Add in the fact that Awesome Feather (10 for 10) and Aurelia (6 for 6) are undefeated...well like I said...what a race.
Tyler Mathis More than 1 year ago
A definite toss out for Ron The Greek, but he'll wake up at SA. Flat Out will go flat on BC day.
BrandonLayer More than 1 year ago
Mott is going for three Ladies Classics in a row. He trained Unrivaled Belle too.
Jim Fields More than 1 year ago
The Dude will blow their socks off, period
silver_charm More than 1 year ago
Another top class racehorse is scheduled to be retired very soon, we've just learned thru this article. while it's certainly owner Mike Repole's prerogative to retire #StayThirsty, this is yet another example of a major player in #horseracing acting in their own self-interest, and not , evidently, considering the welfare of the sport. there seems to be very few players in the game considering the interests of the fans. How do people hope to keep the present fans, and attract new fans, if they fail to ensure an exciting, first-class product on the track? Using Stay Thirsty as an example, will longevity and sturdiness be a major concern in any breeding plans? Or will the future of the thoroughbred species be ignored again? Racehorses were once mighty and awe-inspiring beasts capable of running competitive races on schedules far more rigorous than what we commonly see today
Vince Lentini More than 1 year ago
It's a business not a game. Repole has put tens of millions into it
sat.customer More than 1 year ago
That's a huge reason why he sport is on life support. If poker was as big 30 yrs ago as it is now,I never would have got into racing. The younger generation has nothing to follow
Advance Plumbing More than 1 year ago
Never leave out horses that like certain courses. a great help in the pk 4