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The Delta Dilemma

Royal Delta Romps Delaware Handicap

Royal Delta wins Delaware HandicapAfter two lackluster performances this year, Royal Delta is back in style.  Her 10 3/4 length victory over a short field in the Delaware Handicap (G1) was merely a public workout for the champion mare.  The ease in which she won that race now begs the question – where does she go from here?  She is already committed to the Personal Ensign (G1) at Saratoga in late August.  That race is closed to females only.  After the Personal Ensign, though, her options are wide open.

She could very well go for an unprecedented three-peat in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic.  In fact, Royal Delta is already tied for the most wins (two) with Bayakoa.  Winning the prize again would put her on top of the heap of all those terrific winners of the past.  It would be by no means an easy win – top three year-old filly Princess of Sylmar, among others, would give Royal Delta a run for her money.  On her A game, though, there’s no doubt that Royal Delta is the queen of the female division in America.

Royal Delta’s Options

What's Next For Royal Delta?Why not, however, go for more?  She’s already won the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic – twice – so why not try something new?  Something like, say…the Breeders’ Cup Classic?  Royal Delta gets the distance easily.  If her two Grade 1 wins at ten furlongs don’t prove that fact, then let me reiterate that the mare’s sire and damsire are both Belmont Stakes winners.  She is bred – and able – to handle the distance better than some of the males entered into the field.

Sure, there are obstacles in the way of Classic success, some of which are her competitors.  Reigning Classic champion Fort Larned will be there to give her pressure on the front end, and a plethora of talented three year-olds will also have a say in the matter.  Plus, facing the males hasn’t worked out in Royal Delta’s favor before – 9th and 10th place finishes in the ’12 and ’13 editions of the Dubai World Cup speak for that.

Royal DeltaHowever, she’ll be at home, and on a track where she’s won before.  A win in the Classic would boost Royal Delta’s earnings tremendously, lend an extra sparkle to her already pristine race record and enhance her credentials as a racehorse to carry into her broodmare career (whenever that may be).  Also, if she manages to win the Personal Ensign, another Grade 1 race and then the Breeders’ Cup Classic, that tosses her into Horse of the Year consideration.  A win in the Ladies’ Classic might not be enough to sway voters to her cause.  (No matter what happens in the Breeders’ Cup, though, she is still the front-runner for Champion Older Female.)

Royal Delta to Join Top Mare Ranks

Royal Delta A mare like this only comes along once in a while.  We’ve gotten lucky in the past years, with talented females like Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and Havre de Grace winning the prestigious title of Horse of the Year.  Can Royal Delta join their ranks?  Will we see Royal Delta on Breeders’ Cup Friday or Saturday?  Will the champion mare once again take down her fellow ladies in the Ladies’ Classic, or will she challenge the opposite sex in the Classic?

For now, though, as the rest of her year is largely unknown to the public, we can ponder the Delta Dilemma for some time to come.

 

 

 

 

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Emily White has been in love with horse racing since she was nine years old. The first race she ever watched was the 2004 Belmont Stakes - she was hooked instantly. Ever since, she has enjoyed writing about the sport. Her favorite aspects of the industry are sales and breeding; she loves researching pedigrees. Next year, Emily will be attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha as a journalism major, with an intent to transfer to the University of Kentucky the following year to pursue her dreams of being a turf writer.

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