10/23/2013 11:01AM

Breeders' Cup Distaff: Royal Delta faces upstarts Princess of Sylmar, Beholder

Barbara D. Livingston
Royal Delta will have five opponents in her attempt at a third straight Breeders' Cup Distaff win.

A six-runner Distaff is the smallest field of Breeders’ Cup 2013, but the race brings large appeal. Once again, the $2 million race for fillies and mares will be among the most anticipated races of the season.

It is becoming fall tradition – champion Royal Delta the horse to beat in the Distaff. A year ago, she dusted outstanding 3-year-old My Miss Aurelia. The newest upstarts are Princess of Sylmar and Beholder. They both are 3, and both are very good.

[BREEDERS’ CUP 2013: See DRF’s top contenders]

Royal Delta, Princess of Sylmar, and Beholder rank on top of the half-dozen fillies and mares pre-entered for the top race on Breeders’ Cup Friday, Nov. 1. The Distaff will be race 10 of 11, post time 4:35 Pacific.

Royal Delta, tabbed the 2-1 early favorite by Daily Racing Form, would join Goldikova as a three-time BC winner. Goldikova won the Mile in consecutive years, 2008 to 2010. Royal Delta won the Ladies’ Classic/Distaff in 2011 at Churchill Downs and in 2012 at Santa Anita.

Royal Delta will be tested by a pair of outstanding 3-year-old fillies.

Princess of Sylmar already has defeated Royal Delta; Beholder is undefeated around two turns at Santa Anita. The other pre-entrants are Authenticity, Close Hatches and longshot Street Girl.

Princess of Sylmar upset Royal Delta on Sept. 28 in the Beldame at Belmont Park. It was sixth win in seven starts this year by Princess of Sylmar. Though billed as her season finale, she came out of it so well that trainer Todd Pletcher and owner Ed Stanco will extend her campaign.

Stanco paid a $100,000 fee to make Princess of Sylmar eligible to the Breeders’ Cup. It also gives two rivals a chance to settle a score with her. Royal Delta was defeated by Princess of Sylmar in the Beldame; Beholder was defeated by Princess of Sylmar in the Kentucky Oaks.

Royal Delta posted back-to-back bullet drills for trainer Bill Mott following her second-place finish in the Beldame. Royal Delta will ensure there will be a reasonable pace in the race. She and Beholder are the primary Distaff front-runners.

Beholder, 4 for 4 in Santa Anita routes including the 2012 BC Juvenile Fillies, will meet Princess of Sylmar for the first time since the Kentucky Oaks. Beholder recently scored two big wins, including the Zenyatta Stakes on Sept. 28 against older. Beholder has thrived in recent works for trainer Richard Mandella.

Authenticity finished second in the Zenyatta, her first start in California and third runner-up finish in a Grade 1. She is trained by Pletcher, who shipped her early to California for a race over the track and to avoid Royal Delta and Princess of Sylmar in the Beldame.

Authenticity was compromised by a slow start and slow pace in the Zenyatta. Since then, she has trained impressively at Santa Anita.

Close Hatches, the only horse this year to defeat Princess of Sylmar, missed the summer after getting sick following a June 22 romp in the Mother Goose. Close Hatches returned Sept. 21 at Parx Racing to win the Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies. She also is trained by Mott.

Street Girl, third-place finisher in the Cotillion, is the longest shot in the field.

Royal Delta will have regular rider Mike Smith aboard. Close Hatches is reunited with Joel Rosario. Princess of Sylmar’s jockey is Javier Castellano. Authenticity is reunited with John Velazquez. Beholder’s rider is Gary Stevens. Street Girl’s jockey is unconfirmed.

Thomas Cook More than 1 year ago
Close Hatches second off bench.
Ronald Sanchez More than 1 year ago
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Chalkiest race there is beholder, RD and Pos trifecta
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Did Billy Mott bring and enter horses? Case closed!!!
Greg More than 1 year ago
The truth is Beholder is a monster!!
Union_Rags More than 1 year ago
Beholder romps.
EdwardStanco More than 1 year ago
Jay, The 2013 Distaff will confirm the Santa Anita moniker, "The Great Race Place." There was no way we were going to stay home with our little PA Bred "upstart" and miss the action. We look forward to seeing you next week. Ed Stanco
Starr D More than 1 year ago
So glad you decided to enter her! She will be my pick! Good luck!
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Congrats for doing so, good luck
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Thank you for entering your Great filly Mr. Stanco, true fans like myself really appreciate it...this is what Horse Racing (especially Breeders Cup) is all about, the best competing against the best. Good luck to you and Princess, hope all come out of the race safe and sound.
JDS0810 More than 1 year ago
Royal Delta was not fully cranked in her last start against Princess of Sylmar. I think the real Royal Delta shows up this time. Cold Trifecta - Royal Delta, Beholder (just because of speed favoring tract) then Princess of Sylmar.
Dean More than 1 year ago
Last year, Royal Delta won the Beldame so Mott must have had her cranked up but this year she lost to Princess of Sylmar because Mott did not have her cranked up. If that's the case, then shame on Bill Mott. If he can't get Royal Delta to win back to back Grade I races and needs one as a prep for the second then is doing the owner a big disservice.
Laramie Bowcock More than 1 year ago
That's what everyone is saying, that RD wasn't cranked up, but I recall reading articles from this site (or at least one article) talking about how she looks as good as she ever has, working outstandingly, etc etc etc. The usual. Not trying to say anyone is making excuses for her and I love RD, but it seemed like her last race was about average for her and she was still beat by Princess. It's going to be one heck of a race, especially if everyone gets their trip.
Laramie Bowcock More than 1 year ago
The she looked as good as she ever had** Past tense, just for clarification.
Mikethemessenger465 More than 1 year ago
Hate to break the news, but Princess of Sylmar wasn't fully cranked either. And her time was better than any other 9 furlong race Royal Delta has ever run. Come to think of it, Royal Delta's time in this year's Beldame was better than any other 9 furlong race Royal Delta has run. So you might want to rethink your story before parroting Bill Mott's post-race comments. Keep in mind he has some very high maintenance owners he has to answer to.
Laramie Bowcock More than 1 year ago
That is what I was trying to feel out. Good to hear I'm not the only one thinking along those same lines. How do we know Princess wasn't fully cranked though? Just curious.
MKKelly513 More than 1 year ago
Royal Delta was whipped 7 times by MES in the stretch, while The Princess was whipped only once (i.e., a jockey signal to the horse to get going). JJC gave The Princess a hand-ride only, conserving energy. Replay the Beldame on YouTube and observe both jockey's hands through the stretch. The more a jockey moves his hands in motion with the horse back & forth, rather than steady, the more he wants to coax the horse to go faster when in fact the horse is slowing down.
jeff More than 1 year ago
you got that right, POS bewildered when frontrunners with ability don't fade at SA.
Zakk B. More than 1 year ago
Princess of Sylmar by 2 lengths! Eclipse Awards: HOY & 3-Year-Old Female!
Robynrokn More than 1 year ago
Beholder will try to run them all into submission but get caught, Royal Delta's lost a couple steps this year, and it will end up between the Princess and the Hatch.