02/17/2013 7:33PM

Gulfstream Park: Royal Delta gets season off to good start with easy win in Sabin

Tom Keyser
After her six-length win in Sunday's Sabin under Mike Smith, Royal Delta will be pointed to the $10 million Dubai World Cup.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -   Royal Delta put an exclamation point on a memorable weekend for her trainer, Bill Mott, when she cruised to an easy six-length victory over a game but overmatched All for Thee in Sunday’s $100,000 Sabin Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Royal Delta will now head back to Dubai, where she is scheduled to make her next start in the $10 million World Cup on March 30. 

Mott swept all three stakes decided here over the weekend while winning five races overall. On Saturday, the Hall of Fame trainer sent out Starformer to capture the Grade 3 The Very One and Amira’s Prince to victory in the Grade 3 Mac Diarmida.  He also won allowance races with the graded stakes-placed 3-year-old filly Emollient on Saturday and the stakes-bound Cigar Street earlier Sunday.

Making her first start since sewing up a second straight Eclipse Award by successfully defending her title in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic 3 1/2 months earlier, Royal Delta overcame a bit of a slow start when she hopped at the break to contest All for Thee’s pace from the outset in the 1 1/16-mile Sabin. With regular rider Mike Smith sitting chilly throughout, Royal Delta forged clear midway down the backstretch and then gradually increased her advantage without need of urging.

All for Thee could not match strides with the winner after the opening half-mile but continued on willingly once eased off the rail on the second turn to prove second best. She finished 3 1/2 lengths clear of Grade 1 winner Grace Hall, who, like the winner, had not started since the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.

Royal Delta is owned by Benjamin Leon, who purchased the daughter of Empire Maker for $8.5 million out of the Keeneland November sale just days after she won the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. She covered the distance over a fast track on Sunday in 1:43.31 and paid $2.80.

“A sigh of relief, I’m glad it’s over,” said Mott.  “I’m happy the way everything went coming in. She came into the race great. She worked well. Obviously we’ve got more to do but it’s a nice way to start. We’ve all seen horses that were 1-9 who didn’t perform that way. It’s good to see her continuing on the same path.” 

Mott said he felt Royal Delta came into her 2013 debut a lot more mature and filled out than she was prior to her second-place finish behind Awesome Maria in the 2012 Sabin.

“I think she was working a little better this year.  I think she was a little bit stronger,” said Mott. “She came out of the Breeders’ Cup and she didn’t have to go through a sale this year. People probably don’t realize how much of a toll going to a sale two days after a race can take because she was very tired after that. She lightened up, she lost some weight from it. Of course she’s more mature now, but she seems like she’s filled out better and I think we’re a little more comfortable now.”

Mott said he will do a little work with Royal Delta at the gate after watching her hop briefly at the start of the Sabin.

“She didn’t break well. She was a little uneasy in the gate. We’ve got a little gate work to do with her,” said Mott. “We haven’t done much with her in the gate since the Breeders’ Cup. We’ll have to do a little more schooling so she’s more settled when we go to Dubai.”    

Mott said Royal Delta is scheduled to ship to Dubai  around March 17 and would likely have one easy work at Meydan prior to the World Cup. Royal Delta finished ninth after encountering some traffic issues in the 2012 World Cup.


fuggedabodit More than 1 year ago
Even though she beat a bad field. She did beat them the way she was supposed to...by widening lengths. Easy money for the Mott Team!
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
And then she goes to Dubai and is a non factor. Beating up 4 and 5 inferior horses doesn't impress me. Sorry, I love the horse. I love every horse but I just have a habit of calling things what they are.
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
OK, enough is enough. Has anyone else caught on that this Pick 6 is a racket at Gulfstream? You have 5 winners $8.00 and under and then they end the day with a $123.00 BOMB! At some point investigations should take place.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I agree it is a total scam.
myjockwon More than 1 year ago
when is someone from DRF going to pick up on the story about Jane Cibelli at Tampa and write about it. Paulick report wrote about this last week.
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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myjockwon More than 1 year ago
there is a big difference in giving a shot on race day then blocking a cracked splint bone a shots not going to make a horse try to preform on a cracked bone maybe causing a horse an jock to get seriously hurt. she should be ruled off for this if guilty
WILL More than 1 year ago
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
That wouldnt be a good move.
Ceil Rock More than 1 year ago
Bill Mott said that having to go through the sale 2 days after her BC win as a 3-yr-old took a lot out of her. Also, last year she broke poorly in Dubai and was banged around pretty good early on in the race. She ran pretty well considering all that. She loves the poly at Keeneland, so surface shouldn't be an issue. And Mike Smith puts her in the race a lot quicker than Lezcano did - she's not the grinder I used to think she was. The goal this year is Dubai and the BC Classic - why not go for the big money (especially since Mr. Leon paid $8.5 million for her).
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
It took a lot out of her? Was she depressed or something?
[removed] More than 1 year ago
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WILL More than 1 year ago
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Russell must be watching some other horse ...
jttf More than 1 year ago
second best speed rating of 2013. game on dude 113, royal delta 108 and ron the greek 106. she did it in hand. needs a gate work.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Im sure Mr Mott will be grateful for your insight.
Jd Staton More than 1 year ago
i wouldnt even waste my time going to Dubai. i would stay home and run her in the derby then the breeders cup classic. im not sure if she got any points today but she should have
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, stay for the Derby
Mine thatbird More than 1 year ago
I am not going to give you a hard time because it is obvious you are new to the sport. Derby and Oaks(fillies only) races are for horses 3 years old only. Agree Dubai was not so great for her last year and I am banking on surface more than anything, regardless she is special.
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
Bird...Don't you think Mott would know by now if she can handle the Tepeta ???...I truley believe Amercian Horses going to to Dubai need to get over there @ least four weeks before the race to get use to the new digs...99% of Amercians don't know a T-Bred can run in the derby one time in it's life...One more human knows that now thanks to U...ty...
Bellwether4U More than 1 year ago
Oops!!!...Two more!!!...
Mine thatbird More than 1 year ago
Thanks for your comments. I agree Mr. Mott knows way more than I do about her running preferences, I probably should have kept my mouth shut about the surface. I will be pulling for her in Dubai again this year, fwiw.
Alexander Danzig More than 1 year ago
Unfortunately, geldings aren't eligible for the Derby
Mark Scheider More than 1 year ago
Kentucky Derby huh? Let me stop.
Perl More than 1 year ago
Public workout.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Correction... Grrreat public workout.