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,
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.