11/08/2003 12:00AM

Royally Chosen asserts herself


After chasing the likes of Adoration, Got Koko, Elloluv, and Azeri in her last two starts, Royally Chosen found the competition in the $150,000 Cal Cup Matron Handicap far more to her liking. She rolled to a 3 1/2-length victory over Summer Wind Dancer.

Royally Chosen usually finds herself on the lead, but that spot this day was taken by Super High, the race's defending champion. Royally Chosen handled the situation well. Jockey Alex Solis got her to relax despite a moderate pace, and when Royally Chosen took over at the top of the stretch, she did it with authority.

"That's the mastery of Alex Solis," said trainer Bruce Headley. "That's why I don't give him instructions. He has to play it by ear, and his ear is in fine tune."

Summer Wind Dancer, who won the Cal Cup Juvenile Fillies last year, made a nice run for second but never threatened the winner, who was timed in 1:42.02 for 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track.

Bartok's Blithe rallied from last in the eight-horse field to finish third, with Super High fading to fifth. Cee's Elegance, the second choice, was seventh.

Royally Chosen ($5.80) was favored despite not having won since October 2001. In her six starts since then, she had twice lost by a nose, including to Adoration, the subsequent Breeders' Cup Distaff winner, in a minor stakes race this past summer at Del Mar.

Headley bred Royally Chosen in partnership with Bud Johnston's Old English Rancho. The large ownership group includes Johnston, Pete Abruzzo, and Tony Vincent.