09/30/2013 10:35AM

Breeders' Cup Distaff: Royal Delta 'might have a better one in her'

Barbara D. Livingston
Princess of Sylmar defeats Royal Delta in the Beldame at Belmont Park on Saturday. Princess of Sylmar is unlikely to run back in the Breeders' Cup.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Royal Delta maintained her role as Breeders’ Cup Distaff favorite, though her position is less secure than before a pair of Grade 1 races Saturday at Belmont Park and Santa Anita.

In the Beldame at Belmont, Park, Royal Delta finished second to 3-year-old filly Princess of Sylmar. However, Princess of Sylmar is likely finished for the year and not expected to run in the Distaff.

In the Grade 1 Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita, 3-year-old filly Beholder scored a decisive win over Authenticity and Joyful Victory to emerge as second choice for the Distaff.

While the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes Sunday at Keeneland could increase the Distaff field size, the 2013 field might end up the smallest since 2003 at Santa Anita when seven ran. The key Spinster probable is Apple Blossom winner On Fire Baby.

The number of legitimate Distaff candidates currently is six and includes Royal Delta, Beholder, Authenticity, Joyful Victory, Close Hatches, and On Fire Baby. The status of Cotillion winner Close Hatches will be determined closer to the race.

Royal Delta earned a 102 Beyer finishing second in the Beldame, after which trainer Bill Mott suggested she would be trained more aggressively leading to the Distaff.

“I’m not sure she ran her best race,” Mott told NYRA publicity. “She might have a better one in her than that. I’m pretty sure she does.”

Royal Delta will train in New York and ship to California closer to the race.

Meanwhile, Princess of Sylmar’s owner Ed Stanco told Daily Racing Form’s David Grening that she is probably done for the year. Her two-length Beldame victory was her fourth Grade 1 and likely secured the Eclipse Award for champion 3-year-old filly.

Beholder earned a 106 Beyer racing wire to wire in the Zenyatta. The only 3-year-old in the field, Beholder benefitted from an easy tempo (47.36 and 1:11.28) en route to her 1 3/4-length win over
two-three finishers Authenticity and Joyful Victory.

Beholder, who is based in California, is now 4 for 4 in two-turn races at Santa Anita. All four victories were Grade 1’s, including the 2012 BC Juvenile Fillies.

Authenticity, based in New York, finished second in the Zenyatta and will remain at Santa Anita to prepare for the Distaff. Joyful Victory, third in the Zenyatta, will return to Churchill Downs to train. She is expected back for the Distaff.

Trainer Ron Ellis termed Include Me Out’s status “doubtful” for the Breeders’ Cup after she finished last in the Zenyatta. Include Me Out was scheduled to undergo a nuclear scan later this week. She finished third in the 2012 BC Distaff.

Saturday's race was Include Me Out's second straight subpar effort. Ellis said she did not bleed.

“We’ll have to do to some tests on her to see what the problem is,” he said.

More Chocolate, fifth in the Zenyatta, has been removed from Breeders’ Cup consideration, according to trainer John Sadler.