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Royal Delta Fine After Personal Ensign

One day after Royal Delta came up a half-length short of winning the Grade 1 Personal Ensign, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said the champion filly looked fine.

Sent off as the 3-5 favorite Sunday in the field of six, Royal Delta raced wide on the backstretch and far turn and didn’t begin to advance on leader and eventual winner Love and Pride until well inside the final furlong.

As he did immediately after the race, Mott praised the performance of It’s Tricky, who stumbled twice coming out of the gate and recovered well enough to threaten at the quarter pole before finishing third.

“The horse you could say ran the biggest race of all is It’s Tricky,” Mott said, “and if she had run her race, maybe it would have helped our situation. As it was, it wasn’t our day. We weren’t good enough on the day, under the conditions, to win. The winner beat us on the day. We gave her 10 pounds. I guess with the 10 pounds we needed things to go perfectly.”

There was no time to dwell at length on the race as Mott turned turn his attention Monday morning to his Grade 1 Woodward candidate To Honor and Serve, who breezed four furlongs in 49.83 seconds over the Oklahoma training track.

After reeling off four wins in five starts, including the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby and Grade 1 Cigar Mile Handicap, To Honor and Serve finished third to Shackleford in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap and fourth to Mucho Macho Man in the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap, both times as the beaten favorite.

“He worked easy over a fairly deep track,” said Mott after the 4-year-old son of Bernardini posted the ninth fastest of 22 works at the distance on the training track. “That seemed to be an OK time.

“We’re disappointed in his race in the Suburban, but given my excuse of the heat [and] the weather, I think he’ll run better if we get a decent day.”

Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez will take over the mount on To Honor and Serve for the Woodward, to be run this Saturday at 1 1/8 miles.

 

 

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