09/25/2013 3:30PM

Breeders' Cup Distaff: Princess of Sylmar decision to come after Beldame

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Barbara D. Livingston
Princess of Sylmar (left), here training at Belmont with Authenticity, faces older in the Beldame on Saturday.

Princess of Sylmar gets her first dose of Royal Delta on Saturday.

Once might be enough.

Though it’s unlikely Princess of Sylmar would be nominated for $100,000 to the Breeders’ Cup, Todd Pletcher and owner Ed Stanco will wait until after the Beldame Stakes on Saturday at Belmont Park before deciding if she has done enough for one year.

“She continues to do so well and run so well, there is always the possibility everything is open,” Pletcher said Tuesday on a NTRA conference call, adding that he will address her Breeders’ Cup status after the Beldame. “I don’t think anything has ever been shut completely.”

If the door is open, it is open only a crack. Besides, victories by Princess of Sylmar in the Kentucky Oaks, Coaching Club American Oaks, and Alabama Stakes may have secured her the Eclipse Award as outstanding 3-year-old filly regardless of her autumn campaign.

If Princess of Sylmar is defeated by Royal Delta on Saturday, there is less incentive to spend $100,000 in nomination fees to try again in the Distaff. On the other hand, if Royal Delta is redirected to the BC Classic, that could change. The current plan for Royal Delta is to seek an unprecedented third victory in the BC Distaff.

After the dust settles this weekend, the key Distaff preps will have been completed and the field will solidify.

Six fillies and mares entered the Beldame, led by two-time BC Distaff winner Royal Delta and Princess of Sylmar. The others are Roman Invader, And Why Not, Centring, and Lady Cohiba.

In the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anita, shippers Joyful Victory, Authenticity, and Flashy American will face California locals Beholder, Include Me Out, More Chocolate, and Via Villaggio.

In winning the Cotillion last weekend, Close Hatches re-emerged as a candidate for the 3-year-old filly championship. The Cotillion was her second Grade 1. Breeders’ Cup plans are fluid according to Bill Mott, who also trains Royal Delta. For now, Close Hatches remains possible for the Breeders’ Cup.

“When it comes to the big day like that you got to do what’s right for the horse and the owners and everybody involved,” Mott said.

He added that Garrett O’Rourke, racing manager for Close Hatches owner, Juddmonte Farms, said, “If she’s kicking the barn down, or at least I guess if she feels good and she’s traveling well, we’d go.”

Cotillion runner-up Sweet Lulu will shorten up for the BC Filly and Mare Sprint, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said Wednesday.

– additional reporting by David Grening