08/26/2013 3:06PM

Saratoga: Princess of Sylmar may meet Royal Delta in Beldame Stakes

Michael Amoruso
Princess of Sylmar, who won the Grade 1 Alabama Stakes on Aug. 17, might face Royal Delta in the Grade 1 Beldame Stakes on Sept. 28.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Princess of Sylmar, the clear-cut leader of the 3-year-old filly division, will race one more time this year, and owner Ed Stanco said Monday he wouldn’t mind taking on Royal Delta in the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame at Belmont Park on Sept. 28. The other option would be the Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion at Parx one week earlier.

“I prefer the Beldame,” said Stanco, who added that he would let trainer Todd Pletcher make the decision. “My view at the beginning of the year was she’s a 3-year-old – she should race with 3-year-olds. Now, post-Alabama, she has beaten every 3-year-old. All of a sudden, my view is she’s graduated from the 3-year-olds; maybe it’s time she moves up to the next level.”

Stanco said there would be no shame in finishing second to Royal Delta in the Beldame.

“Royal Delta goes to the front, and the question is can [Princess of Sylmar] catch up?” Stanco said. “If she passes everyone else in the stretch and goes after Royal Delta and doesn’t get there, I don’t think it’s going to hurt her.”

Stanco called Royal Delta “a machine.”

Pletcher said Royal Delta’s dominant win Sunday in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign would have no bearing on where he decides to run Princess of Sylmar. While acknowledging that the Cotillion would be an easier and more lucrative spot, Pletcher noted that the Parx surface can be quirky, and racing there does involve a ship.

“Short ship, but you still have to get on a van and go do it, as opposed to walking out of your own stall,” he said.

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Trainer Bill Mott said Royal Delta came out of the Personal Ensign in good order and confirmed that she will set her sights on the Beldame.

“She was good this morning, seemed happy,” Mott said Monday. “She cooled out quickly last night. She looked like she’s got another one in her.”

Mott is hoping she has at least two more in her, since winning a third straight Breeders’ Cup race remains the goal for the two-time champion following the Beldame. Whether Royal Delta will run in the BC Distaff or take on males in the BC Classic remains to be seen.

“She’ll probably be nominated to both races, just like last year,” Mott said. “I don’t think it’s something we’re going to plan on or a decision we’d make right now, but it’s an option.”

Mott said he and owner Benjamin Leon enjoyed the response Royal Delta received from the crowd following her 4 1/2-length victory over Authenticity in the Personal Ensign.

“I heard them when she crossed the wire, and I was standing out front with Mr. Leon as she was approaching the winner’s circle, and they were applauding,” Mott said. “I turned to Mr. Leon and said, ‘Listen to this behind you.’ It makes me feel good, and it makes him feel good, too. It’s nice to know people still appreciate seeing a good horse.”

◗ Beginning with the start of the Belmont fall meet, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. will be represented by Steve Rushing. Rushing, who was the agent for Ramon Dominguez until his retirement due to injury, will continue to book mounts for Cornelio Velasquez. Rushing also will cover business for David Cohen during the remainder of this meet while his agent, Bill Castle, attends to some personal business downstate.

– additional reporting by Mike Welsch