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HRN Original Blog:
Kentucky Oaks Runner

Royal Delta Back to Defend

 
There are certain stakes races that have been knocking on the door of success, searching for the Grade 1 status they have deserved for many years now and finally one of those races returns to Grade 1 status for the first time since 1989. The Grade 1 Delaware Handicap celebrates its return to Grade 1 status with defending 2012 Delaware Handicap champ Royal Delta on Saturday. Despite the fact that Royal Delta enters off a sound 5 length defeat at the hands of Funny Proposition in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (Gr.2) after returning from a 10th place finish in the Dubai World Cup (Gr.1), she will most likely go off as the post time favorite. Two consecutive losses will not discourage the vast majority of racing fans from placing their confidence in the impressive daughter of Empire Maker yet again. Her performance in the Fleur de Lis was most likely a factor of her not quite being 100% after her trip to Dubai, but I remain confident that Royal Delta has what it takes to be back at the top. There are several things that sway in her direction in the Delaware Handicap; the 1 ¼ mile distance practically screams her name, her three straight bullet works, including a fantastic :58.90 five furlong work showing that she is razor sharp and fit as a fiddle and the fact that she is the returning Delaware Handicap winner all stacks up in her favor.
 
Authenticity and Summer Applause appear to have the biggest chance to upset Royal Delta, on paper at least, but they are also both cross-entered in the Shuvee Handicap (Gr.3) at Saratoga on Saturday. Authenticity enters off a ½ length loss to Tiz Miss Sue in the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps in late May after having defeated On Fire Baby in the La Troienne Stakes (Gr.2) by a head on Kentucky Oaks day. Both races were run at the 1 1/16 mile distance, a distance at which she romped by more than 17 lengths earlier in the year in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park. She finished a credible second in the 1 1/8 mile Grade 3 Rampart Stakes to Caio Bella, 4 ½ lengths behind the winner. She might not be best suited for the 1 ¼ mile distance, but she’s a talented filly who has proven extremely consistent, finishing in the top three in the last 7 of the 8 lifetime races. She might not even run in the Delaware Handicap if trainer Todd Pletcher decides to run her in the Shuvee Handicap.
 
Summer Applause enters off a 2 length win in the Allaire DuPont Distaff Stakes (Gr.3) at Pimlico, a race she captured after finishing 4th in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Stakes to On Fire Baby. She has won two graded stakes races this year, including a 2 ¾ length win in the Top Flight Handicap, but she faded poorly in the Apple Blossom when faced with stronger competition such as On Fire Baby and Tiz Mis Sue. I don’t think she has the goods to defeat Royal Delta if her connections opt for the Delaware Handicap over the Shuvee.
 
She’s All In has run 5 times in 2013 without registering a win, but she did finish second in the Bayakoa Stakes at Oaklawn Park earlier in the year and most recently finished ¾ of a length behind Royal Delta in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (Gr.2) after finishing 6th in the Apple Blossom Handicap (Gr.1), just a head in front of Grace Hall in dead last. Suffice it to say that she’ll need to run the race of her life to challenge for the top spot in the Delaware Handicap.
 
And Why Not is a daughter of Kentucky Derby winner Street Cry and has A.P. Indy as her grandsire on her Dam’s side so it seems almost a no-brainer that she’ll appreciate the 1 ¼ mile distance. On June 15th she finished second by just a neck to Bryan’s Jewel in the Obeah Stakes (Gr.3) in her third start this year, but she has yet to win since breaking her maiden 13 races back in August of 2011.
 
Centring finished third in the Ogden Phipps Handicap (Gr.1) in her last start, less than two lengths behind winner Tiz Miss Sue and runner-up Authenticity. Before the Ogden Phipps Handicap she finished second to Disposablepleasure by 1 ¾ lengths in an allowance race at Gulfstream Park. She’s faced some nice fillies in her last two starts and run pretty well so there’s a good chance she could hit the board, especially if Authenticity or Summer Applause opt to run in the Shuvee Handicap.
 
If Authenticity and Summer Applause both run in the Delaware Handicap the field size will stand at only 6, small by any standard. Regardless of field size, Royal Delta deserves favoritism here and looks ready to visit the winners circle once again.

 

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 Meet Brian Appleton 

Thoroughbred Horse Racing is my passion.  It started when at the age of 9 I found a book called Come On Seabiscuit by Ralf Moody on my Mother’s shelf.  Reading that book was one of the most exciting things I ever did as a kid. I read that book so many times that I had entire chapters committed to memory and the dust jacket worn and ripped beyond recognition from so much use. From that point on I was hopelessly addicted, reading every book on horse racing I could get my hands on, especially racehorse biographies. In 2009 I began my own blog called Rail Runner on wordpress and have continued to blog there to this day.

Curlin is probably my favorite racehorse of all time. Being able to attend six of his races will always be one of the highlights of my life. Whenever I need to re-find some inspiration in my life all I need to do is watch one of his incredible victories and relive the memories. Rachel Alexandra ranks right up there too. As any horse racing fan will tell you it’s almost impossible to choose just one favorite and I am no exception. Phar Lap and Citation are another two of my all time favorites and the list could go on and on.

I was homeschooled my entire life by my parents and graduated High School in 2006 at the age of 17.  Currently I am completing my Marketing degree with the hopes of entering the Thoroughbred Horse Racing field as a writer/journalist , or in the marketing/advertising/promotions side of the industry.

It is my dream to someday become a thoroughbred racehorse owner and win major races across the United States. Who wouldn't want that, right?  For about 1 ½ years I was part owner in a racehorse, Lord Greystoke raced, and owned by Hibiscus Stables. I was able to attend one of his races at Belmont Park on Kentucky Derby day, May 2, 2009 and it was an incredible experience. While Lord Greystoke finished 7th in the race, being able to stand in an owner’s box not 30 feet away from Penny Chenery’s owner’s box was one of the most amazing feelings in the world.

Later in the year Lord Greystoke was finally able to break through with a 4 ½ length win which made me feel like one of the world’s most accomplished thoroughbred owners and further fueled my appetite. I think it would be rally neat to win the Appleton Stakes (Gr.3) at Gulfstream Park, even though I'm generally a bigger fan of dirt racing I can't help but think it would be neat for me to win a race with the same name as my last name.

That’s me in a nutshell, just a very passionate, driven young guy that wants to be a part of this amazing sport and share the adventure with other fans.