07/07/2013 12:31PM

Belmont Park: Royal Delta has sharp workout for Delaware Handicap

Tom Keyser
Royal Delta breezed five furlongs in 58.90 seconds Sunday at Belmont Park in preparation for the July 20 Delaware Handicap.

ELMONT, N.Y. – There is a part of Bill Mott that would love to run Royal Delta in the Grade 3 Shuvee at Saratoga on July 20. But after watching her work Sunday at Belmont Park, Mott can’t make a case for skipping the Grade 1, $750,000 Delaware Handicap, which is scheduled for the same day.

“I’d like to run in Saratoga because she could be stabled there, and I live there, and she’s going to have a race there later in the meet, and it would be more convenient than shipping to Delaware,” Mott said. “But I suppose the fact the race in Delaware is a Grade 1 and a lot more [money], we got to try that.”

Add in the fact that Royal Delta turned in what Mott called an “awesome” work Sunday at Belmont, where she went five furlongs in 58.90 seconds over the main track. Under exercise rider Rodolphe Brisset, Royal Delta went her first three furlongs in 35.40 and came home in 23.50 while hardly being asked.

“She dragged me today,” Brisset said. “She really, really dragged me. She was very good.”

“She just does stuff that’s awesome, which just goes to prove in horse racing, anything can happen," Mott said. “If she got beat last time at Churchill, any of them can get beat.”

Royal Delta did get beat last time at Churchill. In her first start since finishing 10th in the Dubai World Cup, Royal Delta was beaten five lengths by Funny Propositon in the Fleur de Lis on June 15. A year ago, Royal Delta won the Fleur de Lis by eight lengths in her first start back from Dubai.

Mott said he has no explanation for what went wrong at Churchill last month.

“She went into the last race every bit as good as she went into the race the year before, and she got beat,” Mott said. “Do I have an explanation? Not really. I could imagine a lot of things, but I’d have to make something up.”

Last year, Royal Delta won the Delaware Handicap – then a Grade 2 – by a hard-fought neck over Tiz Miz Sue, to whom she was conceding nine pounds. While Tiz Miz Sue figures to be among Royal Delta’s rivals in Delaware, the weight differential will be less, given Tiz Miz Sue’s recent Grade 1 victory in the Ogden Phipps at Belmont.

Royal Delta will have one more work next weekend at Belmont before the Delaware Handicap. Following that race, Royal Delta will point to the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga on Aug. 25. Royal Delta was upset by Love and Pride in last year’s Personal Ensign.