Her mother might have been a three-time graded
stakes winner on the grass, but don’t tell that to Royal Delta, who has
joined the New York Watch by virtue of her dominant first-out score on the dirt
October 30 at Belmont Park. Her page is located at http://www.nyra.com/nywatch/RoyalDelta.html.
Unhurried in seventh through a moderate half-mile of 47.67, Royal Delta
waited behind traffic with five-sixteenths left, swung to the outside to launch
her stretch run, and overpowered her opponents to win by 12 widening lengths
under Jose Lezcano’s snug restraint. The final time for one mile was
1:37.77, with the winner, who returned $16.40 for a $2 win wager, running the
final quarter mile in 24.20.
Hall of Famer Bill Mott – who also trained Royal Delta’s
dam, Delta Princess, for owner Saud bin Khaled – believed the juvenile
would take to the dirt, but nonetheless was astonished by the power of her
“The reason for entering her on dirt
was that she had trained well enough to warrant giving it a try,” said Mott.
“She had been outworking her company. It was no surprise that she won;
however, you never expect any of them to win like that ... it just doesn’t
happen very often.”
Royal Delta is the second foal from Delta
Princess, who won six turf stakes – including Grade 3 triumphs in the
Beaugay Handicap, Mint Julep Handicap, and Locust Grove –and earned
$740,918. Indy Five Hundred, a full-sister to Delta Princess, captured the 2003
Grade 1 Garden City Handicap, also on the grass.
“Delta Princess was a smallish-to-medium
sized filly who was quite a handful to be around, whether it was training or
saddling,” said Mott. “Royal Delta is a big, good-looking filly
with quite a bit of substance and a very good mind. Her mother did have
Royal Delta’s sire, 2003 Belmont
Stakes winner Empire Maker, has sired five Grade 1 winners to date, with one,
2009 Personal Ensign heroine Icon Project, having captured a Grade 1 on the
dirt. Other notable dirt performers for Empire Maker are Battle Plan, victorious
in the 2010 Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap and second in the Grade 1 Stephen
Foster, and Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan winner Acting Happy, who later finished
third in this year’s Grade 1 Betfair TVG Coaching Club American Oaks and
Grade 1 Betfair TVG Alabama.