x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

In-form Royal Delta bound for Beldame Invitational horse race

Decision comes following victory in Personal Ensign Handicap, a Grade 1 contest, reports Geoffrey Riddle.

Royal Delta won the Beldame last year by nine and half lengths. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Royal Delta won the Beldame last year by nine and half lengths. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Royal Delta will head to the Beldame Invitational at Belmont Park next month after her latest impressive victory at Saratoga overnight on Sunday.

Bill Mott's mare overturned her disappointing effort 12 months ago in the Personal Ensign Handicap to win the Grade 1 contest by four and a half lengths from the Grade 1 winner Authenticity. Darley's Centring was third.

Royal Delta won the Beldame last year by nine and half lengths from Godolphin's It's Tricky en route to winning the Ladies' Classic for a second consecutive year at the Breeders' Cup.

Trainer Bill Mott said last week that he hoped Royal Delta would emulate the legendary Goldikova, who won three Breeders' Cup Miles, by running in the Ladies Classic again in preference to a tilt against the colts in the Breeders' Cup Classic in November.

Owner Benjamin Leon, who paid US$8.5 million (Dh21.3m) for Royal Delta, underlined Mott's comments after the race.

"We're leaning towards the Ladies because she'd set a record for winning three Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classics if she does win," Leon told the Courier Journal.

"It is my job an as owner to give her all the opportunities she deserves."

Mike Smith had chosen to ride Royal Delta over Game On Dude in the Pacific Classic at Del Mar.

Joel Rosario, the Dubai World Cup-winning jockey, had been slated to ride Game On Dude in his place but will miss six weeks due to a fracture picked up in his foot on Friday.

It was left to Martin Garcia to steer Game On Dude to his sixth consecutive victory by taking the Grade 1 by eight and a half lengths.

Bob Baffert, the trainer, now faces a difficult decision as to who rides the six year old in the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita, where Game On Dude will next run.

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