04/05/2010 11:00PM

Multiple changes for Diva Delite


LEXINGTON, Ky. - A lot has changed for Diva Delite since she ran her winning streak to five just a few weeks ago.

Since capturing the Grade 3 Florida Oaks on March 13 at Tampa Bay Downs, Diva Delite has been bought back by her breeder, John Sykes of Cloverleaf Farms II, for an undisclosed price. She has moved from Florida to Kentucky, with Ian Wilkes assuming her training from David Vivian. And when she runs Wednesday at Keeneland in the Grade 2 Beaumont Stakes, Diva Delite will be switching from dirt routes to a one-turn Polytrack race.


Wilkes, of course, is hoping that the one thing that hasn't changed is her knack for winning. From 15 starts for her previous owners, Barbara Vivian and Dominic Vitesse, Diva Delite rang up 8 wins, with 4 seconds and 2 thirds to boot.

The $150,000 Beaumont, to be run at the Beard Course distance of seven furlongs and 184 feet, "just kind of fit into our plans," Wilkes said Monday at Churchill Downs, where he recently arrived after wintering at the Palm Meadows training center in south Florida.

"We're just getting to know the filly," added Wilkes. "David did a great job with her. Obviously the big question is how she'll do in this kind of race after she's run mostly on dirt."

Diva Delite will break from post 2 with Julien Leparoux aboard when she faces six other 3-year-old fillies in the 25th running of the Beaumont, which goes as race 8 on a nine-race card.

Wilkes said a big effort in the Beaumont might earn Diva Delite a shot at the $500,000 Kentucky Oaks on April 30, although he noted that she hasn't been nominated. The supplementary fee for the Oaks is $25,000.

The main challenger to Diva Delite in the Beaumont appears to be Franny Freud, who has raced and trained on the Pro-Ride synthetic at Santa Anita in recent months for trainer John Terranova. Franny Freud ran second in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez in her most recent start Jan. 16 under Garrett Gomez, who is back aboard Wednesday.

Fringe contenders include Chantilly Nayla, a winner in 4 of 6 starts, and Tia, a Shug McGaughey-trained filly entered off an entry-level allowance win at Gulfstream Park.