06/15/2013 9:20PM

Churchill Downs: Royal Delta well-beaten second in Fleur de Lis

Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs
Funny Proposition, with Joel Rosario aboard, scores a front-running upset in the Fleur de Lis Handicap.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Joel Rosario won the Kentucky Derby on a 5-1 shot, and it wasn’t a surprise at all, even in a 19-horse field. Orb was the favorite at that price.

But when Rosario coasted home first Saturday night on a 5-1 shot named Funny Proposition among just five fillies and mares in the Grade 2, $186,375 Fleur de Lis Handicap, there were huge gasps of astonishment from the Downs After Dark crowd at Churchill Downs.

That’s because Royal Delta, the defending Eclipse champion in the division, finished a distant second to Funny Proposition, a wire-to-wire winner of the 1 1/8-mile Fleur de Lis. Royal Delta was the 1-5 choice and never mounted a serious challenge to Funny Proposition when finishing five lengths behind in second.

“She just didn’t have it,” said Mike Smith, the rider of Royal Delta. “It was the first race back, I guess.”

Royal Delta, spotting the winner eight pounds when carrying high weight of 125 pounds, was making her first start since finishing 10th in the March 30 Dubai World Cup. Last year, on precisely the same schedule, she won the Fleur de Lis by eight lengths.

Instead, it was Funny Proposition, a 4-year-old filly with nary a stakes win from eight prior starts, who was dominant. Gunned to the lead from her rail slot, she held an open lead throughout, finishing in 1:50.22 over a fast track. She returned $13.40 as third choice.

Funny Proposition, a Kentucky-bred by Medaglia d’Oro, is owned by John Oxley and trained by Mark Casse, neither of whom was on hand.

“My dad’s in Canada and Mr. Oxley is vacationing in France,” said Norm Casse, assistant to his father.

The younger Casse said making the lead was his entire race strategy.

“Every time I’ve ever seen her make the lead, she’s never been passed,” said Casse. As he watched the race unfold, “for the most part, I thought she had it all the way around.”

She’s All In was up for third, three-quarters of a length behind Royal Delta and just a nose before Ice Cream Silence. Wine Princess, the 7-2 second choice, brought up the rear.

The $2 exacta (1-5) paid $26.80 and the $2 trifecta (1-5-4) returned $129.60.

There was no show wagering. From a place pool of more than $286,000, almost $250,000 was bet on Royal Delta, who returned $2.10 to place.

The Fleur de Lis was the first of four straight graded stakes on Stephen Foster night.





aaronrayk More than 1 year ago
Rosario won this race.
edb More than 1 year ago
Horses need a race after going to Dubai. That trip takes alot out of any horse and I always avoid their first race back. She'll get her form back the next race.
michael More than 1 year ago
Better yet, horses don't need to travel to Dubai.
Mark More than 1 year ago
As I wrote after the World Cup the next horse to run against Royal Delta would win. Animal Kingdom got into her head blowing by her in the World Cup
D'Funnybone More than 1 year ago
Do you really believe that horses are intelligent enough to actually have another horse's performance effect how they will run emotionally???
David Sias More than 1 year ago
Ummm...they are definitely that intelligent.
Bryan E More than 1 year ago
I know. Half of me thinks they are just people paid to say stupid things online about horse racing. the other half of me is embarrassed to think I could be lumped in with them as a horse racing fan. i do believe a horse can lose it's will to win after being beaten. But last year, Royal Delta won this race by 8 lengths after finishing 9th in Dubai. They need a new theory.
ron More than 1 year ago
on of the best bets ever the dubai balance.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
Royal Delta usually has a so-so effort during the Spring-Summer. It happens every year. This was her early Summer 2013 so-so effort. She's allowed it in this particular case. This is her first race back from a very tiring trip to Dubai racing on a track she absolutely loathes. She raced 3 or 4 wide most of this race, which means she ran a much longer distance than the other horses. Mike Smth tried to get her two-wide most of the race, not to much avail. She put in a big effort and I could see when Royal Delta had physically hit her limit in the stretch, she had nothing left in the tank to sustain an attack. On top of everything else, Royal Delta gave up EIGHT pounds in weight to the winner. That's a pretty big handicap to overcome for any horse. So, with all of those things adding up against her, Her Highness was entitled to have a lackluster performance. She will sharpen and get better as the year goes along. She's probably being pointed toward this year's Breeders' Cup Classic - which one will be determined by how sharp she is in early Fall. Royal Delta seems to have come out of this race healthy, that's all that matters. She will be back and she will kick butt in future races. Good luck & good luck to you in the future, Royal Delta!
[removed] More than 1 year ago
This comment has been deleted
wrongly More than 1 year ago
Was there last night and completely agree. Others can make excuses but she's done.
JoyJackson21 More than 1 year ago
I think you're aptly named, Wrongly.
Jordan More than 1 year ago
Royal Delta was disappointing, no doubt. And she gets way too many passes. But to call her done is premature.
Sharjil Ahmad More than 1 year ago
Royal Delta wins the third Ladies Classic in fashion. Proves all the naysayers wrong. Draw a line thru this race and move on
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
wasnt the same animal today not to say she wont be as good as ever next race but today wasnt her day
ChristinaW More than 1 year ago
Last year, the Fleur De Lis was the third race of her year, this year it was her second. Give her some time to get her head back into the game. She's still a remarkable mare.
Blaine MacMillan More than 1 year ago
Not true. She's run the exact same schedule as last year. GP-Meydan-CD...
Tom Maloney More than 1 year ago
Honestly, 1/5? You'd be much better off blindly betting the second favorite to place. I don't care who it is, 1/5 is unbettable.
Bryan E More than 1 year ago