Royal Delta and Ron the Greek are scheduled to arrive at Bill Mott’s
barn at Churchill Downs on Sunday to defend their titles in the Fleur
de Lis Handicap Presented by Etihad Airways (GII) and the Stephen
Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (GI) on June 15.
Champion Royal Delta won the Fleur de Lis Handicap last year by eight lengths and Ron the Greek defeated Horse of the Year Wise Dan by a head in the Stephen Foster.
The plane from New York carrying Royal Delta and Ron the Greek, as well as Mr. Besilu,
who sold at the 2010 Keeneland September Yearling Sale for $4.2 million
and is expected to make his career debut on the Stephen
Foster Handicap undercard, is scheduled to land in Louisville at
approximately 2:30 p.m.
WISE DAN ASSIGNED TOP WEIGHT OF 125 FOR STEPHEN FOSTER; ROYAL DELTA ASSIGNED 125 FOR FLEUR DE LIS
Horse of the Year Wise Dan was assigned the top weight of 125 pounds by Racing Secretary Ben Huffman for the Stephen Foster Handicap Presented by Abu Dhabi (GI) and champion Royal Delta
also was assigned
125 pounds for her defense of her title in the Fleur de Lis Handicap
Presented by Etihad Airways (GII) at Churchill Downs on June 15.
With Wise Dan being pointed to the
Firecracker Handicap (GII) rather than the Stephen Foster Handicap, the
likely co-starting high weights are Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Fort Larned and multiple graded stakes
winner Successful Dan who are weighted at 121 pounds.
Weighted one pound below at 120 is last year’s Stephen Foster winner Ron the Greek, who was most recently third in the Charles Town Classic (GII). At 119 pounds is Alysheba (GII) winner Take Charge Indy.
Other probable starters in the Stephen Foster Handicap are Golden Ticket, dead-heat winner with Alpha in last year’s Travers (GI), and 2011 Stephen Foster winner Pool Play. Golden Ticket was assigned 117 pounds
and Pool Play was assigned 115.
Champion Royal Delta, who cruised to
an eighth-length victory in last year’s Fleur de Lis, will give no fewer
than six pounds to her competition in this year’s race with the next
high weight being On Fire Baby, winner
of the Apple Blossom Handicap (GI), at 119 pounds.
The two other probable starters for the Fleur de Lis are Wine Princess, winner of the 2012 Monmouth Oaks (GIII) and a recent allowance winner at Churchill Downs, and recent allowance winner Funny Proposition.
Wine Princess was assigned 115 pounds and Funny Proposition was assigned 114.
She’s All In, sixth in the Apple Blossom in her last start, is a possible starter and is weighted at 114 pounds.