09/09/2013 11:33AM

Breeders' Cup Distaff: Royal Delta could go for three-peat

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Barbara D. Livingston
Royal Delta, winning the Personal Ensign, runs next in the Grade 1 Beldame at Belmont Park on Sept. 28, then in either the Breeders' Cup Distaff or Classic.

Royal Delta will be strongly favored when she seeks an unprecedented three-peat in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, though trainer Bill Mott and owner Benjamin Leon have not closed the door on the BC Classic.

“That has not been decided,” Mott said Monday. “It’s more logical to keep her in the filly race for now.”

The Breeders' Cup will be run at Santa Anita on Nov. 1-2.

Royal Delta, who dominated her last two races, returns Sept. 28 in the Grade 1 Beldame at Belmont Park. Authenticity and Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar, whose BC status is unconfirmed, also are possible Beldame starters.

Meanwhile, a deep field of Distaff candidates is taking shape for the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes on Sept. 28 at Santa Anita. The prospective lineup includes Midwest-based Joyful Victory, Kentucky Oaks runner-up Beholder, Include Me Out, and More Chocolate.

Trainer Larry Jones confirmed Joyful Victory will run in the Zenyatta, a race in which she finished second last year before skipping the Breeders’ Cup. Jones expects Joyful Victory to continue her campaign this year in the Breeders’ Cup. Joyful Victory won the Grade 1 Santa Margarita by four lengths in March at Santa Anita.

Include Me Out will try to rebound in the Zenyatta after she bombed in the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch on Aug. 3 at Del Mar. She finished eighth as the favorite.

“I don’t know what went wrong,” trainer Ron Ellis said. “I haven’t found anything physically wrong. She’s won Grade 1's on synthetic but her best races have been on dirt. We’ll be looking for a bounce-back race.”

Beholder won her comeback Sept. 1 at Del Mar. Trainer Richard Mandella said she will face older for the first time in the Zenyatta.

The Grade 1 Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies Sept. 21 at Parx could produce Distaff contenders. Sweet Lulu, 4-for-4 winner of the Grade 1 Test, will ship from California. Close Hatches also will start in the Cotillion, her first start since she romped June 22 in the Mother Goose. Alabama Stakes runner-up Fiftyshadesofhay is a Cotillion maybe.

Breeders’ Cup plans for those 3-year-old fillies will be made after the Cotillion, although Sweet Lulu’s trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer, said, “I don’t think people are real eager to run against Royal Delta.”

Sweet Lulu will be considered for the BC Filly and Mare Sprint.

Lady of Fifty, upset winner of the Hirsch, a BC Challenge race, is not likely to make the Breeders’ Cup after a recent setback.

“I had to slow down her a little bit,” Hollendorfer said. “I can’t say for sure if she’ll make the Breeders’ Cup. It is nothing serious.”

TheSmithFactor4 More than 1 year ago
This is an absolute SHAM if Royal Delta goes to the Distaff instead of the Classic. I'm tired of owners acting sheepish about running their horses in the big races. If Royal Delta wants to go down as one of the all-time great mares, she has to run against the boys. A victory in the Classic also solidifies her HOY status. The same goes for Wise Dan. What good is running in the Mile? What is there to prove? In the words of Chris "Mad Dog" Russo -- SHOW SOME GUTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
They prove to their bankers and accountants that they have another very large check to cash. In the case of RD she is going for an unpreccedented third straight. Maybe a fourth next year. She is making millions and history not a bad combo. If she were yours you would do the same.
Steven Wells More than 1 year ago
Please run Include Me Out in the F&M Sprint. She can not win at 9 furlongs against RD.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
She can't beat groupie doll either, how about she just sit this one out
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
To go into the Ladies Distaff comes BC is the right move even though this filly and mare race will be a tough one. RD and all others will be breathing the same air. To race against the boys, not the same air and not the right move. A 3 peat would be great, from what I heard at Saratoga, connections may bring RD back for 2014 which would be great, maybe all us racing fans could enjoy her 1 more year I know I would.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
From what I saw at Saratoga she's as good as a horse can get. All credit goes to Bill Mott for that and you can bet that he won't make a bad decision with her...
not impressed More than 1 year ago
I'd like to see her in 2014, but sounds like the Distaff may be her last race.
Michael Castellano More than 1 year ago
I love Royal Delta! She's a beast, and could probably beat this year's older male horses, except maybe Wise Dan. But she'd probably have almost a walk over against the ladies. Hard to resist a sure thing. I'll wager he avoids Wise Dan, which means the Ladies Distaff. Hear she is winning the Beldame: http://michaelcastellano.photoshelter.com/image/I0000ZY9kKKxteOQ
not impressed More than 1 year ago
Everyone will avoid Wise Dan who is a dirt horse. Wise Dan won't be running on dirt this year so not a hard call there.
Big Bob More than 1 year ago
Ha, she prob couldn't beat him at a mile on turf, are you trying to insinuate that Wise Dan is going to run in the Classic?
Michael Castellano More than 1 year ago
Yes, Wise Dan will have to run in the classic if he wants horse of the year honors for sure. If RD wins the Beldame again and the Distaff BC, a wise Dan victory on the turf may win him turf horse of the year honors but not horse of the year honors. But on the grass he may wind up with an even tougher field this year if "Point of Entry" ever makes it back to the races or there are some strong horses from Europe in the race. If that doesn't happen and the field is weak, RD might have a chance.
Lawrence Macselwiney More than 1 year ago
I would love for Hollendorfer to keep Lulu in California and run at SA instead of shipping. Keep the travel time down. This is a fast classy filly who is only going to get better. I'd take a shot with her against any of the girls right now. I think she can run Beholder into the ground as for Royal Delta I would place a wager on Lulu. Thats why we gamble.
Dave More than 1 year ago
What makes the connections think she has a legitimate chance in the Classic when she had an ideal trip in the Dubai World Cup yet still got trounced. Same for the 2012 World Cup. That would make her 0-2 against the boys. This looks like an easy decision!
ghost2_ More than 1 year ago
Because she won't have to travel overseas and she'll be racing on a different surface at Santa Anita than she did in Dubai. I don't know that she'd do well in the Classic anyway, but plenty of male horses have failed in Dubai too. I don't think she's inherently inferior to male competitors. If I owned her, though, I'd probably stick with the Distaff because the overall competition is lesser.
not impressed More than 1 year ago
Trainer finally admitted she doesn't like synthetics and is better on dirt. I could have told him that after her flop in 2012. She's handled 10f so that's no question. I think she deserves a chance if she's 100%. It's not like the males are any stronger than the group Z faced in 2009. And that's NOT a knock on Z.
tim More than 1 year ago
I think she is the only horse who could beat Game on Dude. Would love to see her run. She would probably be second choice in the betting at around 5/2. Game on Dude will probably be 4/5 if Royal Delta goes, 2/5 if she skips this and runs against fillies and mares.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
If there is a big upset in classic she will win horse of the year if she wins distaff. A lifetime achievement award like zenyatta got in 2010. Before you people go nuts no bigger Z fan then me. Blame a just ran in tougher races and finish first in classic. Gold cup lost should not of been a factor. Specially win winner of gold cup went wire to wire.
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
Blame had his head handed to him by Haynesfield in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. He won the Stephen Foster when the favored Battle Force was injured during the race. He won the Whitney over Quality Road, who got a really poor ride from Johnny V. Then he skipped the Woodward altogether. These were tougher races? (Zenyatta sailed by Haynesfield and Quality Road in the BC like they were tied to a post.)
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Ok no one loves zenyatta more than me but lets go with facts that people like to leave out. Zenyatta had the greatest form since man o war 19/20 17 straight wins stakes races all two turns. With that said a strong case was made for blame. People bring up haynesfield defeat but they never talk about haynesfield in the whitney 4th place or his second to last in classic who won those races blame. Now lets be honest about the gold cup is this a target race for trainers or is it became 1 million dollar prep race last three winners if classic lost gold cup. The winners of the gold cup finish third,fifth and haynesfield second to last. I would say that is just a million dollar conditioner.
Dee Englehart More than 1 year ago
I think the Distaff is the best choice for Royal Delta where she will probably take home a 3rd straight victory. Also that would free up Mike Smith to ride Game on Dude for the Classic.
Dave More than 1 year ago
Mike Smith on Game on Dude? I think he's riding Palice Malice providing the colt goes into the race!! You can take that to the bank!!
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
I think Mike Smith will be back on Game On Dude ASAP.
edb More than 1 year ago
Absolutely, unless he wants a view of how GOD runs. Palace needs a headstart to beat GOD.
Big Bob More than 1 year ago
Maybe he'll get one if GOD breaks like he did last year.