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Delaware Park: Royal Delta gets job done winning Delaware Handicap
Class and courage carried Royal Delta to victory in Saturday's Grade 2, $750,000 Delaware Handicap.
Racing over a surface she appeared to be laboring over, Royal Delta, last year's champion 3-year-old filly, held off a late charge from Tiz Miz Sue to win the DelCap by a neck. It was 5 3/4 lengths back to Awesome Maria in third. She was followed by Love and Pride, Darling Reality, Pachattack, and Cash for Clunkers.
Royal Delta, owned by Benjamin Leon's Besilu Stables, won for the seventh time in 12 starts. The $450,000 first-place purse increased her career earnings to $2,263,851. The win earned Royal Delta an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic at Santa Anita in November, as the Delaware Handicap was part of the "Win and You're In" program.
Royal Delta was a convincing winner of last year's Ladies Classic. She also was dominant in last year's Grade 1 Alabama at Saratoga as well as last month's Grade 2 Fleur de Lis Handicap at Churchill Downs.
Saturday, under Mike Smith, Royal Delta had to call on her class and courage to get the job done.
"It was nothing more than that," winning trainer Bill Mott said afterward.
Love and Pride, under Jeremy Rose, was gunned to the lead and set fractions of 22.87 seconds for the quarter, 45.70 for the half-mile and 1:09.80 for six furlongs, a suicidal pace for a 1 1/4-mile race. Rose kept Love and Pride well off the rail.
Smith, meanwhile, did not want to get Royal Delta trapped on the rail, so he took her to an outside path while racing in second position within four lengths of the lead.
"I just did not want to get trapped on the rail. Everybody knew I was on the horse to beat," Smith said.
To Mott's eye, Rose kept looking back to find Royal Delta.
"He looked like that girl in 'The Exorcist' when her head spun around," Mott said.
At the three-eighths pole, Smith, on Royal Delta, and Ramon Dominguez, on second choice Awesome Maria, went after Love and Pride. Smith had to go four wide while Dominguez came through an opening along the rail.
Turning into the stretch, however, Awesome Maria became a non-factor and the threat became Tiz Miz Sue, under Joe Rocco Jr. Tiz Miz Sue entered the DelCap with a 4-2-0 record from 6 starts at Delaware Park, including a runner-up finish to Havre de Grace in last year's Obeah Handicap.
It appeared as though Royal Delta was laboring in the final three-sixteenths, but she was able to hold Tiz Miz Sue - to whom she was giving 10 pounds - at bay for the win, running a final quarter in 27.49 seconds. She covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.51 and returned $3 as the favorite.
"She was not going to let the other horse go by," Smith said. "It wasn't her track, and she just kept running anyway."
Mott said that Royal Delta was scheduled to van to Saratoga Saturday night. She will be pointed to the Grade 1, $600,000 Personal Ensign Invitational Handicap there on Aug. 26.
Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the race record of Tiz Miz Sue. She was second in the 2011 Obeah Handicap, not the 2011 Delaware Handicap.
Let's see - ROYAL DELTA I LOVE these posts. Guys Like Telfe, Jumior, Bobby, Jordan, etc. You whine when they lose and you whine when they win. Guys like you make it easy for guys like me to win money at the track. You SEE it but you don't BRLIEBE it. And then you HEAR it and don't listen. Why not just throw battery acid in your eyes, stick cotton in your ears and take up knitting. THANK YOU for my way of life, you bunch of whiney, crying, no intelligent race followers. Now that I think of it.....Maybe the NYRA wanter her to scratch....hahahaha
OK seriously what is with DRF? Second time they say the Tiz Miz Sue was second to Havre de Grace in last year's Delaware Handicap. Tiz Miz Sue wasn't even in last year's Delaware Handicap, and who can forget Blind Luck's thrilling win over Grace last year? As for this year's renewal, another terific finish. Royal Delta wanted it, she was never going to let Tiz Miz Sue get by her. Terrific filly.
Smart great horse. She used just enough to win. Tiz never would of headed her. Good ride by Mike.
Another horrendous ride by Mike smith... Better being lucky than good, this should be Lezcano's mount
I was there before and after the race and was so amazed with Royal Delta,she looked like a champ coming into the paddock and after, I hope she comes out of this race ok, she is so special, and thank you Mr. Mott for entering the race with your champ and not complaining (ala Porter/Jones) about higher weight than HDG last year, she came, she accepted and she conquered, she had every chance to lose in the stretch battle that time was amazing especially on the DP track. To my additional amazement before the race I saw and met Dale Romans standing there smiling, waiting for his turn two hours later to win the big one in VA Derby. Was a wonderful day of racing. RD is one of the best, was a nice followup to last's years historic race as well.
im glad she won she is one of my faves but i was a bit disappointed it was as hard as it was, but good on her for been game in the finish and not folding like some other horses would of done
For only the second time in her career she has won back to back races. And this is what we call a great horse these days. Hahahaha. Send her to the Breeders Cup, but you know that won't happen next week she will be supposedly injured and then retired. She ain't that good
This is the type of pace that Royal Delta could face if she goes in the BC Classic. Unless attrition takes away a number of horses, given the amount of quality speed among the older males, as well as Bodemeister, I would think the Classic pace would be in the 46 and change, 1:10 range. If Royal Delta was to be ridden as she normally is, that would require her to expend considerable energy early. And we saw the effects of doing this in the Del Cap. If she tries to get her typical spot 4-5 lengths off the lead in the Classic, that could weaken her late kick and a repeat of a 27 and 2 final quarter is just simply not going to get it done against the very best males horses. Thus, if she does run in the Classic, Royal Delta might just have to take far back and make one run.
The Del Cap showed how weight can affect races and that 10 furlongs is another beast entirely from 9 furlongs. First, congrats to Royal Delta for giving Tiz Miz Sue 10 lbs. Personally, I don't pay weight too much concern, at least up until 7 lbs. When the spread is 7 lbs or more, then we're talking about something that has a very real effect on outcomes. Giving 7+ lbs in a major stakes race is something only champs do, and Royal Delta is a champ. As for 10 furlongs, a pace of 45 and 3 and 109 and 4 would certainly affect a 9 furlong race, but a pace like that at 10 furlongs can completely distort and dictate evrything that comes after. I would have to believe Mike Smith did not realize the pace was THAT fast, because if he did he had no business placing Royal Delta 3-4 lengths off it and then make an early move to the lead shortly thereafter. That pace, at 10 furlongs, was toxic and it just about burned those that were anywhere close to it. Smith forced Royal Delta to really work in an attempt to remain about 4 lengths off the lead early, and then asked her to do a lot of heavy lifting on the far backstretch and into the turn. And it caught up with her in the stretch. For a horse that many rave about going 10 furlongs, it was telling to see Royal Delta finish up that final quarter in 27 and 2. But that's just the effect of pace going the classic 10 furlong distance; 10 furlongs punishes any pace mistakes.