I had a plan this past week when I was preparing to take off for my trip to Ireland. I had my laptop, flashdrive and saved files all relative to the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr.2) set to go. My hotel in Dublin had free high speed WiFi and I was eager to continue my coverage of the race and contenders while I was overseas. As luck would have it my hotel was having major trouble with their internet signal and couldn’t discover the problem, so for the full duration of my stay internet service was sketchy at best and wouldn’t work at all with my laptop. I was able to get on four times for a few minutes to send out a couple e-mails and check in on some news but no luck researching or posting stories. So here I am playing catch up and writing my post-Black-Eyed Susan recap.
On October 30th, 2010 Royal Delta stormed through the long Belmont stretch to demolish a one mile maiden field by 12 lengths under no pressure from jockey Jose Lezcano. It was easily the most impressive New York debut by a juvenile filly of the year and promised good things to come. Put away until her seasonal debut in the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay on March 12th, Royal Delta finished 9th out of 10 while Wyomia captured the win. One month later Royal Delta turned things around at Keeneland when she dusted a 1 1/16 mile allowance field by three lengths. After being briefly under consideration for the Kentucky Oaks on May 6th at Churchill Downs trainer Bill Mott decided to skip the Oaks in favor of the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (Gr.2) two weeks later.
As the gates opened Hot Summer immediately surged to the lead in the Black-Eyed Susan as Wyomia and Buster’s Ready gave close chase with Royal Delta about three lengths back in fourth and Love Theway You are trailing the field by a good nine lengths. Into the first turn Hot Summer posted a solid opening quarter of :23.22 with Wyomia glued to her flank, just ¾ of a length behind. Royal Delta continued to rate comfortably behind the three leaders, just two lengths behind Buster’s Ready and moving with long easy strides as the field entered the backstretch. The half went in :46.26 and as the far turn loomed large Royal Delta began her move, edging up along the rail as both Wyomia and Buster’s Ready applied more pressure to Hot Summer, moving to within a neck of the lead.
Midway around the far turn Hot Summer dug deep and pulled away from Wyomia once again, opening up a one length advantage but from three lengths back Royal Delta suddenly came alive. Overtaking Wyomia and Buster’s Ready in three giant strides, Royal Delta continued to roll through the turn with confidence and setting her sights solidly on Hot Summer. Past the quarter pole Royal Delta angled off the rail and lunged past Hot Summer, leading the field into the turn while Buster’s Ready also made a strong move and moved past Hot Summer. Down the stretch Royal Delta poured it on, lowering her head and charging for the wire under Jose Lezcano. Buster’s Ready tried desperately to make a race of it, running more than seven lengths clear of Hot Summer off the turn but it was clear she could present no challenge to Royal Delta. Flashing under the line Royal Delta tallied a victory by 2 1/2 lengths over a game Buster’s Ready, recording her third win in four lifetime starts and announcing the arrival of a new potential super-star in the sport. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 For a filly that showed so much early potential and overwhelming talent, it is extremely gratifying to see Royal Delta make it big at racings highest levels.
The winning time posted by the Empire Maker filly for the 1 1/8 mile was almost identical to the final time posted by Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty two weeks earlier, stopping the clock in 1:49.60 while Plum Pretty ran a shade faster with 1:49.50. The Black-Eyed Susan field may not have had the depth that the Kentucky Oaks boasted but Wyomia and Hot Summer are both graded stakes proven fillies that Royal Delta handled with little effort. Her next goal could very well be the Mother Goose Stakes (gr.1) on June 25th where she would most likely face Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty. There are a lot of positive factors with this three year old filly and it will be exciting to see just how much she can accomplish this year now that she has broken through the proverbial graded stakes glass ceiling. She employs a long relaxed stride when she runs that becomes devastating once she flattens out and extends.
I noticed the most recent Weekly Divisional Ratings that Mike Watchmaker released on Daily Racing Form today and couldn’t help being a little surprised at his 3-year-old filly rankings; R Heat Lightning, Royal Delta, Plum Pretty and St. John’s River all occupy the top four spots while Turbulent Descent was hung out to dry at number six. For a filly that has finished second in a Grade 1, captured two consecutive graded stakes, including a grade 1 and 2, I think that is an extremely low rating. Her next start is scheduled to be the Acorn Stakes (Gr.1) on June 11th and if she wins she deserves to be ranked in the top three at least.
Photo Courtesy of Anne M. Eberhardt