Besilu Stable’s 5-year-old mare Royal Delta
sealed a second Eclipse
Award with a victory Nov. 3 in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies'
Classic (G1) at Santa Anita against a field that included fourth-place
finisher Grace Hall
The two will meet again Sunday when making their 2013 debuts in the $100,000 Sabin Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
Regular jockey Mike Smith will fly in from California for the mount
on Royal Delta for Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott in the 1 1/16 miles
feature. Royal Delta finished second in last year's Sabin behind Awesome
Maria when launching her 2012 campaign after being purchased for $8.5
million at the 2011 Keeneland November sale. Mott was retained as
The early season program is the same for Royal Delta as it was early
last year, although her connections will hope for a better result. The
daughter of Empire Maker was using the Sabin as a tune-up for a start
against colts in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (G1) in which she
finished a disappointing ninth before returning to the U.S. for another
“Anytime you run the first time (following layoff) I guess it can be
termed a prep,” said Mott. “We want to see how she’s going over here in
the afternoon (in a race). We are planning on going to Dubai.”
Jockey Joel Rosario gets the call on Grace Hall for trainer Tony
Dutrow. Also a daughter of Empire Maker, Grace Hall ranked among the
nation’s top 3-year-old fillies last year when she won the Gulfstream
Oaks (G2), finished third in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and then captured
the Delaware Oaks (G2) and Indiana Oaks (G2) before finishing nine
lengths behind Royal Delta in the Ladies Classic.
“Everything has gone right on schedule for her training this winter
at Palm Meadows,” said Dutrow. “She got back a little farther than I
expected early in the Breeders’ Cup and they kind of got away from her.
I’m not sure she handled that track as much as the ones she was running
on back east.”
Only three other fillies and mares will line-up against Royal Delta,
including Team Block’s 5-year-old All for Thee who enters off a game
allowance win over the track going a mile on Jan. 12 in her first start
since Keeneland in October. Jockey Jose Lezcano will be aboard the
daughter of Elusive Quality for trainer Chris Block.
Tonys Investments 5-year-old My Pal Chrisy comes into the race after
a pair of third-place finishes in restricted stakes at the meet in the
Ocala Stakes on Dec. 30 and Sunshine Millions Distaff last out on Jan.
A daughter of Alex’s Pal, My Pal Chrisy has had most of her success
at Calder the last few seasons with total earnings of $415,000,
including a 7 ¼ lengths victory in the Elmer Heubeck Distaff in
November. Jockey J.L. Castanon has the mount for owner-trainer Padarath
Completing the field is Frank Mancari and Pat Greco’s 5-year-old
mare One Last Dance with Javier Castellano picking up the mount for
trainer Dale Romans.