09/24/2012 3:40PM

Belmont Park: Royal Delta looks sharp in work for Beldame

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Reed Palmer/Churchill Downs
Royal Delta wins the Fleur de Lis earlier this year.

ELMONT, N.Y. – After watching Royal Delta put together a string of lightning-fast workouts, trainer Bill Mott was hoping to slow down his champion filly Monday morning.

Mission accomplished. Sort of.

With exercise rider Rodolphe Brisset maintaining a strong hold of the reins, Royal Delta still zipped four furlongs in 47.58 seconds Monday morning over Belmont Park’s main track in preparation for a start in Saturday’s Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame Invitational.

The work, in which Royal Delta went her first quarter in 24.47 and her second quarter in 23.11, ranked as only the 10th-fastest of 42 half-mile drills over a fast main track Monday morning.

“We’ve been cognizant that the last three works she’s been very fast,” Mott said. “She does it without ever letting her run. I mean, she’s got the ability to run fast. She always goes a second faster than what the rider thinks he’s going.”

Royal Delta will top a small field expected for the Beldame, a 1 1/8-mile race that serves as a stepping-stone to the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. Last year, Royal Delta finished second in the Beldame to Havre de Grace, but then won the Ladies’ Classic to earn an Eclipse Award as North America’s champion 3-year-old filly.

She flashed that championship form in the Fleur de Lis earlier this year, winning by eight lengths at Churchill Downs. After gutting out a neck victory in the Grade 2 Delaware Handicap, Royal Delta was upset as the 3-5 favorite by Love and Pride in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga.

“She didn’t run bad. We gave the winner 10 pounds, we got beat,” Mott said. “There was an easy pace up front when It’s Tricky stumbled, and it changed the complexion of the race.”

Instead of a contested early pace, Love and Pride got loose on the lead through a half-mile in 47.60.

Mott won’t have to worry about Love and Pride on Saturday as she shipped on Monday to California to run in Saturday’s Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita.

Mott will have to worry about It’s Tricky, who returns to Belmont, where she is 2 for 2, having won the Grade 1 Acorn last year and the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps this year.

The rest of the Beldame field will be in flux until entries are taken Wednesday. Trainer Allen Jerkens is expected to run Go Unbridled if the field is small. Trainer Todd Pletcher said he is considering running Disposablepleasure or Maristar. Cash for Clunkers and All Due Respect also are possible.