Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

Royal Delta vs. It’s Tricky in the Personal Ensign

Let’s get ready to rumble!!!

A quick flashback to last year’s Breeders’ Cup Friday at Churchill Downs, saw two young fillies go to the head of their three-year old class with a 1-2 finish against older in the BC Ladies’ Classic. The girls in question were of course the impressive winner, Royal Delta, and the consistent runner-up, It’s Tricky. Now less than ten months later, the two are considered the top two older fillies in the country and look to square off for the first time in 2012 in Sunday’s Grade 1, $600,000 Personal Ensign. Last year the two met three times with the Breeders’ Cup serving as the rubber match after It’s Tricky scored in the Coaching Club American Oaks, while Royal Delta romped home in the Alabama. Both of the latter two races took place at Saratoga, and that seems like as good as place as any to renew their rivalry. 

The devastating 5 ½ length win in the Alabama last summer helped launch Royal Delta on her way to an Eclipse Award as Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, and also plays a part in her being a clear 4-5 favorite on the morning line on Sunday. Despite being pegged the 124 highweight in the 1 1/8 mile, handicap affair, Bill Mott has no qualms in running his champion back at the Spa.

“We’re happy to give [Royal Delta] another chance back in Saratoga, where she won the Alabama,” said the Hall of Fame trainer. “She seems to be doing fine here and we hope she repeats from a year ago.”
Mott retained his star after the filly went up for auction last fall, and was snapped up for the princessly sum of $8.5 million at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale by Benjamin Leon of Besilu Stables. After starting the year 0 for 2, for her new owner, including a failed attempt in the world’s richest race, the Dubai World Cup, Royal Delta has been in great form back in the States. First she trounced her Grade 2 Fleur de Lis foes in June and then was game as could be while holding off Tiz Miz Sue despite giving tons of weight in the Delaware Handicap last time. 
“She had to work at it [in the Delaware Handicap], without a doubt,” said Mott. “She had to work early and hang on late. With the difference in weight [nine pounds] she gave to the second horse, she ran quite well. She’s doing well and she’s proven in the past she can run well over this racetrack. She’s high weight, and I suppose she deserves to be.”
Royal Delta will break from post 4 on Sunday with Mike Smith on board. Three places to her inside will be her primary challenger and old friend, It’s Tricky. The 2-1 morning-line second choice for the Personal Ensign, has been untouchable so far this season while not facing the likes of Royal Delta. She began her four-year-old season with a pair of wins at Aqueduct, including a 2 ¾-length win in the Grade 2 Top Flight Handicap in March and a 3 ½-length romp in the seven panel Distaff Handicap in April. Her only race since came when she methodically wore down Cash for Clunkers to take the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps on May 28 at Belmont. She has been training sharply for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in preparation for the showdown with her top rival.
“We have her coming back at 1 1/8 miles, and she hasn’t raced in three months,” noted McLaughlin. “Hopefully we’ll have her tight enough. She’s training well and is coming into the race in great shape. We’re ready to go.” 
In tipping his plans for the race just a bit, McLaughlin went on to say, “We might have a slight pace edge over Royal Delta. Being that we’re in the one hole, we’ll be forwardly placed. There will probably be one or two outside who will go out and clear us. We’ll see if they can. We’ll let [jockey] Eddie [Castro] sort it out.”
While the Personal Ensign promises to be one of the best showdowns so far this year, there are four other mares that will attempt to break up the game, and each have the credentials to possibly do just that. Tiz Miz Sue, Love and Pride, Brushed by a Star, and R Gypsy Gold are the four, but in reality, if the top two do their thing, it should strictly be a two filly race. Let’s get it on!


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Older Comments about Royal Delta vs. It’s Tricky in the Personal Ensign...

sorry, my bad. Thought this was about the PE and didn't read all the comments so I didn't notice the segue to the BCC.
It is 9f, footy. Did you mean the 10f comment? That was about the BCC.
I thought 9F as well
I thought the distance had been changed to 9 furlongs? Maybe I am misinformed?
Ive supported IT all year so why stop now.. Its Tricky by 3
Royal Delta is more suited to the 1 1/4. I'll take her
It's Tricky may have the pace advantage, but the distance is more in Royal Delta's favor. Of course, a loose on the lead It's Tricky is quite possibly capable of anything.
  • Capper · Agreed. Smith had Royal Delta pretty close to the pace last time in Delaware, & she almost got nailed, so I think she'd be farther off the pace Sunday. Its Tricky has been off 3 months, so she'll be fresh, close to the pace & should get the jump on Royal Delta. Should be a great race. · 1977 days ago
The author supports Brushed by a Star for 3rd, after Royal Delta and It's Tricky of course.
  • Capper · Brushed by a Star, gotta watch those runners that ran on IA Festival of Racing weekend. · 1977 days ago
If Royal Delta wins her next two and stays healthy she should be in the BC Classic
Royal Delta, then It's Tricky, then Love and Pride. My upset pick is Love and Pride, I've always liked her.
At your own risk, of course, buds. I'll put money on Royal Delta to win.
Thanks for handicapin it for me mary, I will be sure to play that super. I like Royal Delta too. Its Tricky is a great horse, but Royal Delta is borderline freakish. This has been consistantly the best division the last few years.
Royal Delta, then It's Tricky, Love And Pride, Tiz Miz Sue.
I'm really looking forward to seeing this race, Royal Delta is awesome!
*I think it
I'm really looking forward to this race. I think it's going to be Royal Delta
Bill Mott has turned his big mare over to Mike Smith who is the best money rider in the country. He is by far the best jockey on a mare and Mott's go to guy when he is pulling out all the stops to bring them home. Smith was his rider for his Belmont and Classic winner last year and wants his princess well taken care of. It's Tricky is a favorite of mine and very sharp Eddie is going to have to rate this horse perfectly to get her home on top cause Delta will be coming.
I love Bill Mott but I'm feeling It's Tricky in this amazing finale to a great weekend of racing at the Spa.

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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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