06/17/2012 10:11AM

Churchill Downs: Breeders' Cup on far horizon for Ron the Greek, Royal Delta

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Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs
The filly Royal Delta was awarded a 110 Beyer Speed Figure for her win in the Fleur de Lis Handicap.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott confirmed that Ron the Greek and Royal Delta both will be pointed to the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita after sweeping the two big races Saturday night on the Stephen Foster program at Churchill Downs.

Ron the Greek, a head winner over odds-on favorite Wise Dan in the Grade 1 Stephen Foster, will have a short break, said Mott, then might have one race before running in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park as his final prep for the $5 million BC Classic on Nov. 3.

“He seems like he's an improving horse and you'd have to say he's one of the top handicap horses in the country,” said Mott. “It was a very good field. I feel proud of our horse that he was able to beat such a good field.”

Ron the Greek and Wise Dan both earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure in the Foster.

Mott also will work backward from the Nov. 2 BC Ladies’ Classic with Royal Delta, who was absolutely sensational in winning the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap a half-hour before the Foster. Royal Delta, the defending champion in the BC Ladies’ Classic, earned a 110 Beyer with her eight-length, geared-down triumph under Mike Smith. Her winning time of 1:49.49 for the 1 1/8 miles was 1.02 seconds faster than what her male counterparts ran in the Foster.

Mott said the Grade 2, $750,000 Delaware Handicap on July 21 at Delaware Park is a possible next start for Royal Delta, the 3-year-old filly champion of 2011.

For Mott, the big night was reminiscent of what he accomplished here last fall in the Breeders’ Cup when he won the Ladies’ Classic with Royal Delta and the BC Classic with Drosselmeyer. Mott, a 58-year-old native of Mobridge, S.D., is the all-time leading trainer in Churchill history with 664 wins, more than 100 ahead of the next trainer on the list, Dale Romans.

Meanwhile, Wise Dan, who was the 4-5 Foster favorite when making his second start of the year after getting a 117 Beyer in winning the Ben Ali in April, “ran very courageously, I thought,” said trainer Charlie Lopresti.

“I’m not disappointed in the least,” said Lopresti. The Whitney and/or Woodward at the upcoming Saratoga meet are likely goals for Wise Dan, he added.

Alternation, never a factor when fifth, had a four-race win streak snapped. Trainer Donnie Von Hemel said he had no apparent excuse for the 4-year-old colt.

“They were just better than us this time,” he said.

Ontrack attendance for the first-ever nighttime Foster was 25,417. Churchill reported that the all-sources handle of $7,960,789 essentially remained even with the comparable Foster Day program of 2011, while the ontrack handle of $1,552,584 was up 60 percent.

 

 

Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Never been a fan of Ron the Greek, but with a win in the Big Cap, and being conditioned by Mott. He'll layoff until the fall he could be a surprise like drossellmeyer
Perl More than 1 year ago
Mott should point Royal Delta to the BC Classic and Ron The Plodder to the Ladies Classic. (and yes I know Ron The Plodder is not eligible for the Ladies classic)
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Ron the plodder would eat up Royal Delta at 10 furlongs....
Perl More than 1 year ago
Perhaps. Perhapas not. Either way, it's a sad commentary on the older horse division that a horse like Ron The Greek has won a pair of G1s in 2012.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Funny how lately we address the handicap division as the older horse division....when I was growing up and went to the races with my uncles, it was the handicap division that kept them interested in horse racing all year round starting from the big cap all the way to the the clark....of course today the handicap division basically sucks....we have Havre de Grace and Rachel Alexandra beating nobodies in the Woodward but the racing media hype it like it was some race!...the Woodward is barely a grade 2 (two) race.....
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
At first glance it may seem that way but if you look a little closer you'll see an older horse who already won at Santa Anita. If you look at those splits in the SAH they were insane, and Ron The Greek ran up very easily to get close on the far turn, bode his time on the turn, patiently waiting for the front runners to put in they're run, then just came moving 4 wide into the stretch to win going away the mile split was 134 and change! The Stephen foster also didn't dissapoint after a strong 6f in 110 and change Nates Mineshaft got leg weary, and Ron The Greek out gunned wise Dan in the last 1/8th against a wise dan who had just run a 117 beyer. RTG ran against Looking at Lucky as a three year old, and another horse named Drosselmeyer. This Bunch never made it to the BC Classic last year after battling each other all spring last year. Mott plans to rest RTG until the JC Gold Cup then come back to Santa Anita to run in the Classic! Sounds like an early contender for the classic.
Ronnie Malo Rodriguez More than 1 year ago
Mott did a nice job with a plodder last year to take the classic.
MaryAnn Donahue More than 1 year ago
This story seems to indicate that Royal Delta will not contest the BC Classic, unless Bill Mott plans to run both of them in the same race. Too bad since she ran her race faster than the boys did the Stephen Foster. I really like Royal Delta.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
Running fast 9 furlongs does not translate to fast 10 furlongs.....Bill Mott an experience trainer knows that.....When will you people learn that high beyers at shorter distances DOES NOT TRANSLATE to LONGER distances......Bodemeister is your most recent example of fast 9 furlong and inability to hold off a stronger 10 furlong horse in IHA....Uncle Mo high beyers at 8 and 8.5 furlongs is a big cluck at 10 furlongs...even 9 furlongs Rachel Alexandra couldn't hold off an allowance horse Persistent at 10 furlongs.....
MaryAnn Donahue More than 1 year ago
Point taken. Because RD is by Empire Maker, I guess I assumed she could get the mile and a quarter distance. I'm probably wishing for shades of Zenyatta in 2009.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
It's ok MaryAnn......RD is still a fantastic 9 furlongs horse.....and basically the kind of horses we generally breed today.......
MaryAnn Donahue More than 1 year ago
I'm still not totally convinced that Royal Delta is only a 9 furlong filly especially after the reminder that she won the Alabama convincingly.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Not to be nitpicky, but I wouldn't rule out Royal Delta's ability to get 10f. You can throw out Dubai. It was an impossible challenge on a goofy surface. Last year she crushed them by 5 in the Alabama at 10f and she is certainly bred for the distance. Plus she's a big strapping filly who looks as if she wants to run on. As for RA, by the time she faced Persistently, she was cooked. Pretty sure she was never the same after the Preakness. And it drove me crazy when all the people who thought Zenyatta should have won HotY in 2009 pointed to Rachel's efforts as a 4yo as some sort of "proof" that they were right. That all said, I do agree that 9f doesn't always translate to classic distances.
MaryAnn Donahue More than 1 year ago
Perl, Thanks for the reminder about RD's Alabama win at 10f. And I agree with you that she looks as if she wants to run on. I hope she wins a few more before she is retired to broodmare duty.
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
IT is so different to run 10f restricted females than open company.....there are not a lot of Zenyattas throughout our racing history.......I bet the number of females winning an open G1 at 10 furlongs or longer is less than the number of triple crown winner.....one of the rarest in our history........
MICHAEL More than 1 year ago
The first thing you folks keep forgetting is LASIX IS NOT ALLOWED AT DUBAI!!!! surprise surprise surprise... And this nonsense about Rachel being cooked is so ridiculous.....if you look at Rachel's beyers in 2010 compared to 2009 they are about the same....as a matter of fact she had one of the highest beyer given in 2010.....the problem is she was racing against stronger more mature mares in 2010.....no doubt she would have been tough at 9 furlongs in the 2010 Ladies Classic but that would just tell the truth that she ducked the 2009 Classic against Zenyatta not because of the surface but because of the distance......
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You are flat out wrong, my friend. Not sure what basis you are using to claim that Rachel was the same horse as a four year old. She clearly lacked the burst that tore apart races on the turn when she was a star at three. The speed figs bear this out. Pretty sure Rag/Thoro had her slower at 4, and her beyers tailed off as well. And I take nothing away from the great Zenyatta. The 2009 Classic was run on rubber, which clearly would have put Rachel at a huge disadvantage. Not sure if she could have beaten Zen at 10f in any event, but she was a tired animal. Perhpas you forget that Zen had only raced four times that year leading up to the classic, and RA had run eight times, including thrice against males, all grade ones. You gonna tell me the filly that crushed the excellent Summer Bird in the Haskell was the same one who couldn't beat Zarkava as a four year old? C'mon! As for 10f+ filly/mare winners against open company, they hardly ever try males against open company, but I can think of at least three since 1980 -- Genuine Risk, Winning Colors, and Rags To Riches. No triple crown winners over that period of time.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
If not for the needless heat on him, I'd wish that Billy Mott were running our Country!