Eskenformoney seeks more Gulfstream stakes success in Royal Delta
February 15, 2017 11:25am
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Photo: Kenny Martin

StarLadies Racing’s Eskenformoney is set to seek her second graded-stakes victory in a row at Gulfstream Park in Saturday’s $200,000 Royal Delta (G2).

The 5-year-old daughter of Eskendereya is scheduled to take on five rivals in the 1 1/16-mile stakes for fillies and mares that is named for the three-time Eclipse Award winner who suddenly passed away last week.

Royal Delta, a two-time Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) champion, won the race formerly known as the Sabin by five lengths in 2013.

Eskenformoney had been graded-stakes placed on five occasions before breaking through with a triumph in the one-mile Rampart (G3) Dec. 17.

The Todd Pletcher-trained mare broke her maiden in her fifth career start by nearly nine lengths Dec. 10, 2014 at Gulfstream Park, where she came right back to win an entry-level allowance and finish third in the Davona Dale (G2) and second in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2).

“She likes Gulfstream and she generally has run well here. She’s always been sort of a thin filly and the older she has gotten, the stronger she has gotten, and is holding her weight much better than she ever has before,” Pletcher said. “We intentionally gave her plenty of time between the last race and this one. She’s training well.”

Eskenformoney, who is graded-stakes placed around two turns on multiple occasions, stalked a fast pace set by Curlin’s Approval in the one-turn Rampart before edging away to victory by three-quarters of a length.

“I think she is versatile enough that she doesn’t need a set-up,” Pletcher said. “She can take advantage of a slow pace or sit off of a fast pace. She’s pretty professional that way.”

Javier Castellano has the return mount.

Curlin’s Approval is scheduled for a rematch with Eskenformoney in the Royal Delta. Happy Alter’s homebred 4-year-old filly followed up her game second-place finish in the Rampart with a commanding 2 ½-length victory in the seven-furlong Hurricane Bertie (G3), in which she closed from a stalking position to draw clear of Pletcher-trained Genre, who had finished third in the Rampart.

The Marty Wolfson-trained filly won at first asking June 5 at Gulfstream Park, graduating by four lengths. After finishing fifth in the Azalea Stakes on Summit of Speed Day July 2, the daughter of Curlin notched back-to-back victories in a first-level optional claiming allowance  at 6 ½ furlongs and the Added Elegance Stakes at seven furlongs. Prior to the Rampart, she finished a respectable fourth in the seven-furlong Raven Run (G2) at Keeneland Oct. 22 after pressing the pace between horses.

Luis Saez has the return mount for Curlin’s Approval’s first start around two turns.

“I feel she’s ready. She’s developing nicely,” Alter said. “Pace makes the race, but she’s worked well for the race and is getting better all the time.”

The late-developing homebred has been a source of satisfaction and enjoyment for Alter, who will also be represented by My Awesome Mom in the $60,000 White Pearl Stakes on the Royal Delta undercard.

“I’m proud to say that back when I was training a lot of horses, I had some really nice horses,” said Alter, who campaigned multiple graded-stakes winners Jolie’s Halo, Frosty the Snowman and Halo’s Image. “They’re few and far between, but as they develop, it’s a real thrill.”

Barclay Tagg-trained Verve’s Tale, who is set to make her 2017 debut after capturing the Comely (G3) at Aqueduct Nov. 26, and Joe Orseno-trained Mo Green, an optional claiming allowance winner at Gulfstream Jan. 19, are among the leading contenders for the Royal Delta.
Caboclo Do Rio and Venom Girl round out the field.

Source: Gulfstream Park


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