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HRN Original Blog:
Portrait of a Thoroughbred

A Farewell to Royal Delta

Royal Delta Tribute 615 X 400
Photo: Heidi E. Carpenter

 

Two-time Eclipse Award and Breeder’s Cup Distaff winner Royal Delta has been retired from racing as of today, per her connections. Aside from a double in the Breeders' Cup, the Grade I victories of the 5-year-old dark bay daughter of Empire Maker – Delta Princess (by A.P. Indy) include the Alabama Stakes, Beldame Invitational Stakes, Personal Ensign Handicap, and Delaware Handicap. Bred and raced by Palides Investments until 2011, Royal Delta sold for $8.5 million to Besilu Stables at the 2011 Keeneland November Breeding Stock sale shortly after winning her first Distaff.

 

Among the wealth of good fillies and mares to grace the racetrack in recent years, Royal Delta’s star shone as bright as any other. Her bare stats—22 starts, 12 wins, 5 seconds and 1 third, with over $4.8 million in earnings—hardly touch the depth of the essence she brought to the track. 

 

There is her rare beauty; she is tall and long-bodied yet finely sculpted, with a swan-like Edward Troye neck and an intelligent head with eyes so striking, they must have been hand-painted by the racing gods. There is her way of going; she is leggy and fluid at the walk and trot, and her high-kneed gallop—so unusual at first glance—eats up the ground with each long, low stride.

 

There is her ability to bring a crowded grandstand to its feet as she powers down the homestretch untold lengths in front, ears up, long dark mane tossing in the wind. To watch her in the lead is to watch a horse taking joy in what thousands of years of evolution has granted: the ability to run fast and far.

 

Thank you for the goosebumps and memories, Royal Delta. May your babies inherit just a fraction of your essence.

 

Royal Delta in the paddock before the 2013 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs.

 

Royal Delta never failed to attract a large crowd.

 

 

 

Mike Smith up.

 

Despite being defeated on this day, Royal Delta remained a picture of power and elegance.

 


 

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Older Comments about A Farewell to Royal Delta...

Power and elegance, that's really all there is to say..I cashed a couple of nice tickets that she anchored and I loved watching her compete - I will miss her for sure
wonderful tribute. Great pictures. Sad to see her go, but I'm happy for her :)
Beautiful tribute to a great champion
Beautiful article. And a yes royal delta is one of the best looking race horses. For the girls though id rank her number three for me. 1. Ruffian 2. Zenyatta 3. Royal delta
One of the best looking race horses I've seen, seems like just yesterday when she won the black eyed susan.. gonna miss her
Beautiful
I would have to agree, KyOaksRunner. When I saw Zenyatta in person it was early morning and she was not yet groomed. How did you like Royal Delta's eyes, KYOaksRunner? I will not forget that look.
YOu must have missed seeing Zenyatta then
The most pysically stunning filly/mare I've ever seen in person...such a champion!
Truly an all class champion and team i will miss her
she will be indicted into the hall of fame in the next decade.
A truly beautiful horse.
So go make some Mechanical horses and you can have them for 10-20 years. They aren't machines there chief.
how can you be a fan of this so called sport? they always retire early and i know the horse is 5 but I am talking in general, all the horses I start to like they disappear and retire.

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 Meet Heidi Carpenter

 

An equestrian since 1986, Heidi has loved horses for as long as she can remember. She fell in love with the sport and history of Thoroughbred racing as a young girl after reading about the great champions of yesteryear, including Man o' War, Lexington, Equipoise, and Citation.

Always very visual and imaginative--as well as a romantic at heart--Heidi has a great interest in the stories, connections and images abound in Thoroughbred racing. She also enjoys studying pedigrees and racing history.

The first Kentucky Derby Heidi watched was in 1991, and the first racehorse she fell in love with was Cigar. Her all-time favorites include Ruffian, Man o' War, Dr. Fager, John Henry and Winter Memories.

Heidi lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her husband (who is also a racing fan) and four cats, and has her beloved horse, Limerick, boarded nearby. Registered as Amanda Bry, Limerick is a 1991-model OTTB mare that Heidi has had since 1996. Heidi has a B.A. in creative writing from Columbia College Chicago and is a writer for a local laboratory. Heidi also has a blog at: http://deafequinefanatic.blogspot.com/