10/03/2012 1:35PM

Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic: Royal Delta's opposition will be clearer after Spinster

Oaklawn Park/Coady Photography
Tiz Miz Sue, here winning the Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn in March, is using the Spinster as a prep for the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.

The Beldame Stakes romp by Royal Delta confirmed the 4-year-old filly as clear favorite for the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, a race that will crystallize after the Spinster Stakes on Sunday at Keeneland.

Tiz Miz Sue will use the Spinster to prep for the Ladies’ Classic. The status of 3-year-old fillies In Lingerie and Disposablepleasure will be evaluated after they face older for the first time in the Spinster.

[BREEDERS' CUP 2012: DRF top 10 lists, video replays, latest news]

Meantime, the confirmed Ladies’ Classic field is small – as few as seven starters – but strong. “It’s shaping up as one of the greatest editions in recent memory,” said trainer Chad Brown, whose unbeaten Awesome Feather is among the favorites.

Expected runners include Royal Delta, last year’s Ladies’ Classic winner; Awesome Feather and My Miss Aurelia, undefeated Grade 1-winning champions; Questing, a two-time Grade 1 winner; Love and Pride, a Grade 1 winner in New York and California; Include Me Out, the Grade 1 winner based in California; and Tiz Miz Sue.

Although the Beldame romp by Royal Delta – 9 1/2 lengths – fueled BC Classic speculation, she will stay with her gender. Trainer Bill Mott said Wednesday the Ladies’ Classic “is our intention right now.” Royal Delta will train at Belmont, and ship to California on Oct. 28 or 29.

It’s Tricky remains a candidate, though trainer Kiaran McLaughlin and Godolphin racing manger Simon Crisford might lean to the Filly & Mare Sprint. “It’s 52-48 she’ll go to the seven-eighths, but we really haven’t talked it out for sure,” McLaughlin said Wednesday.

Godolphin has a confirmed Ladies’ Classic starter in Questing, runner-up to My Miss Aurelia in her most recent start.

Love and Pride’s victory in the Zenyatta, her second straight Grade 1, underscored the strength of the East Coast fillies and mares. In her previous start, she defeated Royal Delta.

The Zenyatta Stakes ended BC plans for Joyful Victory and Amani.

Joyful Victory was scheduled to return to Kentucky. Amani was unable to overcome the slow pace and speed-favoring track profile and finished fifth.

Include Me Out could be the only local representative. A three-time graded stakes winner this year in California, her third-place finish in the Zenyatta was either the perfect prep, or a sign the West Coast fillies and mares are inferior to the East Coast contingent.

As for Tiz Miz Sue, the 5-year-old mare remains a legitimate Ladies’ Classic longshot, pending her effort on Sunday in the Spinster.

Trainer Steve Hobby hoped the Kentucky race would be easier than her last two starts.

“We tried Royal Delta twice, we didn’t want to try her three or four times in a row,” Hobby said, explaining the ship to Keeneland. “We were thinking with the races at Belmont, Santa Anita, and this one, it might be a chance to cut them up a little.”

Tiz Miz Sue finished fourth last out, beaten just two lengths in the Personal Ensign. The one-two finishers Love and Pride and Royal Delta validated the race by winning Grade 1’s last week in California and New York.

Tiz Miz Sue has won six races and $674,709 from 27 starts.