07/02/2005 12:00AM

Delta Princess charges to Locust Grove win


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The result of the Locust Grove Handicap was the same as a race four weeks beforehand, albeit with a far more dramatic twist.

Delta Princess needed every bit of her flashy late run Saturday to get past Shaconage to capture the $164,550 at Churchill Downs, duplicating the one-two finish of the June 4 Mint Julep Handicap. This time, favored Delta Princess, ridden by Brice Blanc, seemed beaten with less than 100 yards to go, but a furious late run took her to a half-length victory.

"When we first turned for home I wasn't sure we could get there," said Blanc.

Indeed, following a predictably slow pace, the 1 1/8-mile Locust Grove appeared to boil down to a head-bobbing finish between Marwood and Shaconage, who had traded turns on the lead from the start. But Delta Princess, a 6-year-old A.P. Indy mare owned by Saud bin Khaled and trained by Bill Mott, was able to get past them both with a searing outside run.

Shaconage, the 5-2 third choice, finished a head in front of Marwood. Katdogawn, the second choice (also 5-2), finished another four lengths behind Marwood and was followed by Pad the Wallet and Cape Town Lass. Baxter Hall was an early scratch.

Delta Princess, now a winner of 11 of 26 career starts, returned $4.40 to win after finishing in 1:48.90 over a firm turf. She has earned nearly $650,000.

The Grade 3 Locust Grove followed the Distaff Turf Mile and Mint Julep in Churchill's annual spring series of turf races for fillies and mares.

* One race earlier, My Ro ($5) got a big jump on favored Souris en route to an easy two-length victory in the $70,350 Lazer Show Handicap. My Ro, a winner of 6 of 9 lifetime starts, was ridden by Pat Day and is trained by Dale Romans.