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Breeders' Cup 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

An impassioned plea to the new owners of Royal Delta

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?



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Older Comments about An impassioned plea to the new owners of Royal Delta...

If both she and Dross come back, the world will be perfect! :)
mucho macho man is back.........
Good call Zip, I'd love to see her run again next year!!
Most, if not all of Besilu's horses are with Todd Pletcher. Hopefully he'll want to keep her at the summit & Bill Mott took her there, so if he's a smart man he won't change a thing.
I made my plea for Mr Leon to keep her with Bill on DRF's fb page! I figure he's got enuf common sense to see that noone knows her better or loves her more than Bill ;)
I hope B. Leon leaves her with her previous trainer Mr. Mott.
Thrilled she is coming back. Great for the fans. Great for racing.
Awsome, 8.5 mil! Great that Mr. Leon agrees to one more year as well!
She's coming back!
Who were the underbidders?
Mr. Leon is building himself quite the barn.
Ben Leon says she will go back into training!
Bidding started at 2.5mil... That was a thrill to watch.
$8.5 million ... wow!
I think Ben Leon Besilu Stables is now her new owner. Sounded like he had the winning bid.
Just sold for $8.5 million.
Totally agree, ROyal Delta running next year as a 4 year old will be good for a sport that needs more top horses running longer!
Totally agree, Royal Delta deserves to come back and compete as a 4 year old. She might be the class of the Older Division, yes I said Older, male or female. We both love pedigree, Brian, Royal Delta's pedigree is out of this world!
I would really like to see this, but the feeling I get is that she's headed straight to the shed. What a shame.
Let me see. . .RUN HER NEXT YEAR ! But, she does have excellent breeding. I will be disappointed if she's retired so early. I want to see RD and HDG face off again. RD should improve as a 4yo as HDG did.

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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