Today at Keeneland, Royal Delta will be on the auction block as part of the dispersal of Prince Saud bin Khaled’s breeding and racing stock. After the Saudi Prince passed away this past January, the decision was made to sell all of his thoroughbred holdings, including the soon to be champion, three-year-old filly. As regally bred as she is named, Royal Delta was destined to be a hot commodity at the sale even before her victorious run in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic. A daughter of the excellent sire, Empire Maker, and out of Delta Princess, a stakes winning daughter of Horse of the Year and superlative sire, A.P. Indy, Royal Delta is blessed with the talent, looks, conformation, and breeding to be a wonderful broodmare - Just not yet.
When Royal Delta powered down the lane Friday night to easily defeat It's Tricky, she not only proved that she is the finest sophomore filly in America, but she also embodied a realization of all that potential that so many of recognized in her very first trip to the races last fall. But for a horse who is only three-years-old, has had to fight through a few minor setbacks this year, and has raced only eight times in her entire career, the impressive score in the Ladies’ Classic was likely only the tip of the iceberg. Bred to get better with age, and looking better than ever at Churchill, the potential of Royal Delta would seem near limitless. Look at the improvement Havre de Grace made this year with the chance to fully develop at four.
Now with five wins in those eight starts, Royal Delta looked like a million bucks in winning the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes in May, before suffering a hoof bruise that likely prompted her defeat in the Coaching Club American Oaks. She looked like a million bucks and then some with a romping win in the prestigious Alabama Stakes, before running into the far more mature Havre de Grace on a sloppy surface in the Beldame. And then Friday at Churchill she was the picture of beauty and power in winning on the biggest of American stages. I know I want, make that I need, to see more and I am sure that her Hall of Fame trainer feels the same way.
Bill Mott had an unbelievable weekend at Churchill Downs, but I think it is in Royal Delta that he saw the most potential. The backside was abuzz all week with the stunning looks of the star three-year-old filly. She was universally considered as the one horse thriving more than any other during her stay at Churchill Downs. When I asked Bill’s son, Riley, about the barn a few days before the races, it was clear which one excited him the most. With a big smile he said, “Royal Delta is doing really, really good.”
Under the care of a horseman like Mott, I have little doubt that Royal Delta would continue to thrive next year. I imagine her new owners will not have to twist Mr. Mott’s arm for him to continue to train the champion.
She is not a stallion, therefore the astronomical stud fees are not out there to be collected. Royal Delta should be given the chance to become a great racehorse next year. The fans of racing deserve a chance to see what she can become next year. Her sire was retired (due to injury) after only eight starts, I implore her new owners (whoever you may be) to not let another champion be taken away from our sport far too soon.
I’ve seen Royal Delta run eight races … can we please see eight more?