10/29/2012 7:17PM

Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic: Royal Delta draws post 6 in speed-laden field

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Barbara D. Livingston
Royal Delta will be the favorite in perhaps the strongest field ever assembled for the Ladies' Classic.

ARCADIA, Calif. – It might have been a bumpy ride, but Royal Delta escaped Hurricane Sandy and shipped Monday from the East Coast to Santa Anita, where on Friday she will lead an outstanding field of eight fillies and mares to post in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.

The $2 million, 1 1/8-mile race for fillies and mares was previously known as the Distaff. By any name, the 2012 edition is considered the strongest in the 29-year history of the race.

Three champions entered, including favorite Royal Delta, winner of the 2011 Ladies’ Classic. who drew post 6. She will face two unbeaten fillies – My Miss Aurelia, winner of the 2011 Juvenile Fillie, and Awesome Feather, winner of the 2010 Juvenile Fillies.

Seven of the eight entrants are Grade 1 winners, including Questing, Love and Pride, Grace Hall, and Include Me Out. The only entrant without a Grade 1 win is Class Included, the Northwest-based filly with 10 wins and six seconds from 16 starts.

When she arrived at Santa Anita on Monday, Royal Delta reportedly had an abrasion on her rear end that may have occurred during transit. Her trainer Bill Mott was scheduled to arrive later.

Grace Hall was expected to ship Tuesday or Wednesday from the East Coast, although her travel plans are at the mercy of Hurricane Sandy. Javier Castellano, who rode Grace Hall to Grade 2 victories this year in Delaware Oaks and Gulfstream Park Oaks, regains the mount.

While post position typically is not a key factor in mile and one-eighth races on the Santa Anita main track, the complexion of the 2012 Ladies’ Classic was affected by the draw. Several entrants have similar up-front running styles. The pace is expected to bet set by Questing, who drew post No. 4.

Although pace-presser My Miss Aurelia drew post No. 2, she is versatile enough to make her own trip. Two other front-runners drew closer to the outside – Awesome Feather drew post No. 5; Love and Pride drew post 8.

The field, in post position order with jockeys, lines up from the rail out: Grace Hall, Javier Castellano; My Miss Aurelia, Corey Nakatani; Class Included, Russell Baze; Questing, Irad Ortiz Jr.; Awesome Feather, Jeffrey Sanchez; Royal Delta, Mike Smith; Include Me Out, Joe Talamo; and Love and Pride, John Velazquez.

Stephen Taylor More than 1 year ago
Does this look like Pletcher at a price? Royal Delta is the best BUT rough flight, along with the fact that horses shipping in from the east just haven't done well make Love and Pride a pretty nice fair price alternative. Pletcher yet running at SA. Say what you want about Todd but he's not a stupid person and with Delta, Aureilia, etc. all entered the price will be right!
Kyle Stasierowski More than 1 year ago
Dear Brad, Here's my superfecta for the Ladies Classic: 1st: 7 Include Me Out (Joseph Talamo) 2nd: 6 Royal Delta (Mike Smith) 3rd: 2 My Miss Aurelia (Corey Nakatani) 4th: 3 Class Included (Russell Baze) Sincerely, Kyle Stasierowski 27-year-old loyal TVG viewer, HRTV Live Feed viewer, TVG Community member, and DRF FaceBook friend from Alden, New York
James Espinoza More than 1 year ago
Corey Nakatani has been riding at this track for 20 years . If anybody has home court advantage it's him . My Miss Aurelia is a newby to SA , but she is a gamer . If all the horses are basically even in talent , then it becomes a jockey's race. Questing found that out last time out when Nakatani basically schooled Irad . Class Included to fill out the exacta .
jon g More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately the joke that is the SA surface will determine the outcome
Steve More than 1 year ago
since you already know who's gonna win because of surface bias, tell me, who it is so I can come back and laugh at you tomorrow.
john deksnis More than 1 year ago
If Questing had held off My Miss Aurelia, she'd be THE story in this race. And the chalk. Since she got beat, however, Questing will likely go off in The Ladies Classic somewhere around a sweet 5 to 1 or so. Making her -- in my mind, at any rate -- the best BC bet in years. Her last, I thought, did nothing to diminish her credentials. I don't believe the slow pace suited her, plus, she was giving 7 lbs to a terrific, undefeated filly. And just did get beat. I look for Ortiz to step on the gas right from the start and run this fabulous field into submission. Questing by open lengths.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was at Parx that day and had my money on MMA. But I was very unhapy how the race was developing, and as such, commented to my buddy "she's gonna have to be a freakin monster to catch Questing." Now, that idiot Jon White kills the price on what I think is the best bet on either day. Since when has he been doing the ML for the BC? 6-1 is a more accurate line, not 4-1. Now she will be bet down to 5-2 second choice.
Clark Dougherty More than 1 year ago
In 10 races, we have not seen the "bottom of the tank" in Awesome Feather yet. She is basically untested in the final 1/4 mile at anything beyond a sprint. She is a mortal lock and a single on all multi-race wagers. Think about it ...... it's an Eclipse award winning champion for whom Frank Stronach paid 2.3M from Jacks or Better Farms at the open Keeneland sale less than 3 days after she won the BC Juvenile Fillies. It is Stronach's race track (Santa Anita); when she wins, it will be second time in history an undefeated horse has won a second BC race (the other was Zenyatta); she has been pointed for this race all year long. And wonder of wonders, we are gonna' get a minimum of 7/2 or maybe as much as 5-1 on a filly who will improve in her 2nd start after a layoff when she recorded her best Beyers of 108. Feather is not just Awesome, she is Fantastic (and getting better.) Go Feather!
jon g More than 1 year ago
Who has she beaten since the juvenile ?
Steve More than 1 year ago
everybody she's faced...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
her spacing between races indicates soundness issues. the huge fig last out is way out of line for her. she also has to ship 3,000 miles. She should bounce big time.
Steve More than 1 year ago
she injured her tendon following the sunshine millions which led to this year's long layoff. The fact she's being wheeled back so fast says alot. Chad Brown and Stronach aren't connections that run for the sake of running.
Grazyna Mianska More than 1 year ago
Questing could easily wire this field. They will have to catch her. Hope to get six to one odds.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
they were worried about a 4 hour van ride to Philly - and she got beat on an uncontested lead. now she ships 3,000 miles. pass.
Ange More than 1 year ago
We here in Vancouver will be cheering loudly for Class Included! Tough spot for sure but at the same time, just because she has never run against a group like this doesn't mean she can't beat them! It is horse racing after all :) Safe trips to all.
Eric Rickard More than 1 year ago
Awesome field. bet Awesome Feather. questing scares me if she is allowed to fly fast by her jockey.
Chris Jones More than 1 year ago
Love And Pride is a need-the-lead type. Questing might be able to rate, but she is inside of Love And Pride, and has a higher cruising speed than Love And Pride. Those 2 are going to set a FAST PACE. The question is will the next line of horses like My Miss Aurelia & Awesome Feather also be going too fast stalking the pace setting it up for Royal Delta or another off-the-pace type?
Mark More than 1 year ago
Love and Pride has no chance to win. Royal Delta rolls if a repeat of her last. Questing i think is second.