07/21/2013 1:41PM

Saratoga: Royal Delta points to Personal Ensign after big effort

Royal Delta earned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure for her 10 3/4-length victory in Saturday's Grade 1 Delaware Handicap.

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SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Bill Mott was understandably in a jovial mood Sunday morning, roughly 16 hours after Royal Delta dominated Saturday’s Grade 1 Delaware Handicap by 10 3/4 lengths.

The win ended a two-race losing streak for the dual champion mare and was reminiscent of the brilliance she had displayed previously in her career.

“It was gratifying, but it was also exciting to watch her run,” Mott said outside his Saratoga barn. “You’re watching her, and you’re looking back and seeing what’s going on behind her. It just looked like two different races.”

Royal Delta returned to Saratoga at about 2 a.m. Sunday from Delaware. She will point to the Grade 1 Personal Ensign here Aug. 25.

Royal Delta won the Delaware Handicap – her second straight victory in that race – without the use of the anti-bleeder medication Lasix. In all of her previous starts in the United States, Royal Delta had raced on Lasix. She was not permitted to race on it in Dubai, where she competed in the World Cup in each of the past two years.

“We wanted to rekindle some controversy over the Lasix issue,” Mott joked Sunday. “Nobody’s been talking about it. I thought it would make for some good conversation.”

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When he eventually turned serious, Mott said he felt Lasix negatively affected Royal Delta at Churchill Downs when she ran second in the Fleur de Lis Handicap on June 15.

“I think the Lasix had an adverse effect on her at Churchill last time a little bit, and probably the heat and humidity made it worse,” Mott said. “She was much better without it yesterday.”

Mott said Royal Delta probably never needed Lasix to begin with and probably won’t run on it for the remainder of the year.

In the Delaware Handicap, Royal Delta went right to the front under Mike Smith, and after fractions of 24.19 seconds and 47.50 for the half-mile, the race was essentially over. Royal Delta, who won last year’s Del Cap by a neck over Tiz Miz Sue, earned a 104 Beyer Speed Figure for Saturday’s performance.

Royal Delta improved her record to 11-4-1 from 17 starters and pushed her career earnings to $4.2 million. She has won nine stakes, including five Grade 1 races.

When Royal Delta runs in the Personal Ensign, one of her rivals will be Authenticity, who won Saturday’s Grade 3 Shuvee Handicap by a length for trainer Todd Pletcher and Satish Sanan’s Padua Stable. Last year, the Pletcher-trained Love and Pride upset Royal Delta in the Personal Ensign.

Referring to Royal Delta’s performance in Saturday’s Delaware Handicap, Pletcher said, “Obviously, if the Royal Delta who ran yesterday shows up in the Personal Ensign, we’re all running for second, but we’ll give it a try anyway.”

Authenticity earned a 96 Beyer for the Shuvee.

The biggest disappointment in the Shuvee was Eblouissante, the half-sister to champion Zenyatta, who finished last. Eblouissante acted up in the gate and needed to be backed out before being reloaded.

On Sunday, trainer John Shirreffs said Eblouissante cracked a tooth and had some cuts on her stifles from hitting herself in the gate. Shirreffs gave praise to the assistant starter for “preventing her from getting underneath the gate, which would have been tragic.”

commenting More than 1 year ago
With Eblouissante's injuries, she won't run again now until 2014 most likely, knowing Shirreffs. She banged a hip and had a sore foot and didn't run for 6 months. Just give it up with her already. She's not meant for the rigors of horse racing... physically or mentally.
John More than 1 year ago
The Personal Ensign is the same day as Pacific Classic (Beldame is also same day as SA Goodwood (Awesome Again)), so looks like Smith will be off Royal Delta - but I would tell him to stick with RD - better chance of winning a BC race with her than Game on Dude - and Mott is loyal. If he doesn't stick around, plenty of capable jocks to point her in the right direction.
mgagno09 More than 1 year ago
Tough choice. He rides better horses for Mott and maybe Palace Malice will be his Classic horse
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
Paynter and Liason to the Pacific Classic list of contenders!
Meydan Rocks More than 1 year ago
Wesley, Sir! Nice commentary. Quick point. The "west coast" is basically California; one state. A large state, but one state neverthess. Now, the east coast is a BUNCH of states. About 15 or so (plus or minus?) Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. I'll love NY and NYC for the rest of my life but I can't understand this "west coast" thing, Just thought I'd point that out.
Mark More than 1 year ago
And hence the quality is of no comparison. Thanks for solidifying his opinion. California racing is a few steps below the east .
Mark More than 1 year ago
FYI. California Oregon Washington make up the west coast. Just thought I'd point that out.
Wesley White More than 1 year ago
Royal Delta ran huge yesterday, glad to see someone step up and give indication that U.S. horses can run without the use of Lasix or Salix, it should be a banned substance and if your horse can't run without it then your horse shouldn't be running. If they do it in the U.K. then they need to do it here in the U.S. To the race, Royal Delta's competition looked more like West Coast fillies than the normal East Coast squads that usually show up for events like this, Tiz Miss Sue is a quality filly that would have given RD a run for her money on this track but she is awaiting a fall campaign. As for Eblouissante, JS is not known for throwing his horses in the deep water so quickly. Especially after that much time off and the issues that has had her in a holding pattern with her training. But on the East Coast when you have to run them, unfortunately you actually face graded horses unlike what you face in those optional claimers in Southern California. I'll say this, when the best filly in Southern California is based at Ellis Park part of the year in Joyful Victory, that tells you a great deal about how weak the quality of the f/m division is, but its been that way for a while.
vapaul67 More than 1 year ago
They also never run their horses on dirt in the UK, so I guess we should abolish dirt since they don't run on it over there.
Big Jeff More than 1 year ago
Still can't figure out out why, in a sport that is also a business, don't the trainers of these east coast "stars" ship in and grab up all the "easy cash"that seems to be just laying around in so. Cal.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Ron the Greek Dullahan Marketing Mix Emoillent Violence all shipped out and "grab up all the "easy cash"that seems to be just laying around in so. Cal" along with fort larned wise dan trinniberg little mike shanghai bobby hightail zagora and royal delta . or does the2 of the biggest days of racing in the u.s. not count ? still cant figure out why you cant get this through your skull.
Mark More than 1 year ago
fyi the beloved game on dude was east coast based and couldn't get it done so go west vs the cream puffs .
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
So, Jeff, Dullahan or Dude in the Pac Classic?