Royal Delta Eyes Fleur de Lis Repeat

Two-time champion Royal Delta, the 2-5 morning line favorite for Saturday’s 38th running of the $175,000-added Fleur de Lis Handicap (Grade II), highlights the undercard of the Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) on the Downs After Dark Presented by Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka racing program at Churchill Downs.
The Fleur de Lis Presented by Etihad Airways, for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles, is one of five graded stakes races on Saturday’s million-dollar program that also includes the $100,000-added Matt Winn (GIII) for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles, the $100,000-added Regret (GIII) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on the turf and the $100,000-added President of United Arab Emirates Cup (GI) for Arabian 4-year-olds and up at 1/16 miles.
Besilu Stables LLC and Benjamin Leon Jr.’s Royal Delta cruised to an eight-length victory in last year’s Fleur de Lis and now seeks to join Likely Exchange (1978, ’80) as the only two-time winners of the race. Like last year, the Fleur de Lis will be Royal Delta’s return to racing following a March journey to Dubai. In her most recent try at the $10 million Dubai World Cup (GI), Royal Delta finished 10th behind 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom.
“Royal Delta’s timing is the same as it was last year and I think we’ve got a similar amount of work in her,” Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott said. “She’s doing well and it’s just time to go back to the races with her. I think she’s perhaps a little bigger and stronger than last year, appearance-wise. She’s a year older and I think she’s becoming a fully-mature horse.”
Following her victory in last year’s Fleur de Lis, Royal Delta recorded victories in the Delaware Handicap (GII) and Beldame (GI) before scoring her second consecutive win in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (GI).
With Breeders’ Cup Classic (GI) winner Fort Larned running in the Stephen Foster, Saturday will mark the fourth time – but first in the winter, spring or summer – that defending Breeders’ Cup Classic and Ladies’ Classic champs will compete on the same program. The last occurred Sept. 27, 2008 at Belmont Park when Curlin won the Jockey Club Gold Cup (GI) and Ginger Punch finished second in the Beldame. 
In her attempt to defend her crown, Royal Delta will give 10 or 11 pounds to each of her four rivals. Her assigned weight of 125 pounds would be the most carried by a winner of the Fleur de Lis. Heatherten (1984), Serena’s Song (1996), Banshee Breeze (1999) and Rachel Alexandra (2010) carried 124 pounds.
The main competition for Royal Delta could be Wine Princess, winner of last year’s Monmouth Oaks (GIII) and most recently a seven-length winner of an allowance/optional-claiming race at Churchill Downs on Opening Night of the Spring Meet on April 27. Owned by Becky Winemiller and trained by Steve Margolis, Wine Princess is a 4-year-old chestnut daughter of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper and 2002 Horse of the Year Azeri.
“We’re getting 10 pounds from her, which is definitely a help,” Margolis said. “Royal Delta is a proven champion and a serious racehorse, but we’ve got quality too and we’re undefeated on the dirt here. We’re looking forward to the challenge and feel our horse deserves a shot.”
The two other graded stakes winners in the field are Robert Zoellner’s homebred She’s All In, winner of the 2012 Sixty Sails (GIII) at Hawthorne, and Ice Cream Silence, winner of the Doubledogdare (GIII) on the Polytrack at Keeneland in April. John Oxley’s Funny Proposition, an impressive three-length winner in a one-mile allowance / optional-claiming race at Churchill Downs on May 17, rounds out the field.
The Fleur de Lis is scheduled to go as Race 6 at 8:30 p.m. (all times Eastern) on the 11-race card and kicks off an all stakes Pick 4 that concludes with the Regret, which goes as Race 9 at 10:11 p.m.
The field for the Fleur de Lis Handicap from the rail out (with jockey, weight and morning-line odds): Funny Proposition (Joel Rosario, 114, 6-1), Ice Cream Silence (Rosie Napravnik, 115, 10-1), Wine Princess (Shaun Bridgmohan, 115, 4-1), She’s All In (Ricardo Santana Jr., 114, 10-1) and Royal Delta (Mike Smith, 125, 2-5).  


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Older Comments about Royal Delta Eyes Fleur de Lis Repeat...

I'm not part of a group.
Sorry for being the messenger. It won't happen again. I am starting to understand his frustration with this group. Enjoy.
Know what, Euro Trash? You seem awfully nice, but I'm way too old for this "stuff". If anyone has anything to say to me, it can be said directly. See you "at the races."
I can only tell you what he told me.
Yes, he was. But that's okay.
Mary Z- just wanted to tell you that Footlick said Hi, but he also said he is not the person who communicated late at night with you whenever that was. Just wanted to let you know.
Royal Delta; Funny Proposition; Wine Princess; Ice Cream Silence...right race, y run her harder than needed off of the Dubai trip for a 500K purse? Not even an option, imo.
You know I think she's so wonderful that she should go in the Foster, thought that last year, too, but the bazillionaire owner and excellent trainer must know something. Nice of them to take care of her for me :)
Wrong race

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