As so often is the case as summer turns to fall, Racing Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has a stable of Thoroughbreds moving in the right direction.
Mott will be well-represented on Super Saturday at Belmont Park
with Royal Delta
set to defend her title in the Beldame Invitational Stakes (gr. I), Flat Out
attempting to turn the hat trick in the Jockey Club Gold Cup Invitational Stakes (gr. I), Slumber
heading to the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (gr. I), Ron the Greek
in either the Jockey Club Gold Cup or the Kelso Invitational Handicap (gr. II) and possibly White Rose
for the Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes (gr. I).
"Slumber is doing well," said Mott of the 5-year-old British-bred son of Cacique
, who won an optional claimer at Saratoga Race Course
each of the past two summers for Mott. "He's 2-for-2 with us; it's only taken two years to get those wins, but he's doing fine. He's stepped up twice for us, and he hasn't done anything wrong, and he trains well. Hopefully, he'll figure."
Flat Out, winner of the 2011 and 2012 editions of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, has a record of 5-0-1 from six starts at Belmont Park and may be joined in the 1 1/4-mile race by Ron the Greek, sixth in last year's edition.
"Flat Out has never disappointed anybody here," said Mott of the 7-year-old, second by a head to Alpha in the Grade 1 Woodward last time out. "He's doing well and he certainly likes it here. With Ron the Greek, initially, it was my idea to try him at a flat mile, but I'm fine with it if the owners decide to go in the Jockey Club Gold Cup."
Two-time Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta has won her past two races by a combined winning margin of 15 1/4 lengths, most recently beating Authenticity in the Personal Ensign Handicap (gr. I) at Saratoga. In the Beldame, she will be confronted with a field that could include the Todd Pletcher-trained Authenticity
and her stablemate, multiple grade 1 winner Princess of Sylmar
, star of the grade I Kentucky Oaks, TVG Coaching Club American Oaks, and Alabama Stakes.
"She's a serious filly," said Mott of Princess of Sylmar, who would be facing older horses for the first time in the 1 1/8 mile Beldame. "You can't take her for granted. But Royal Delta is doing well. I would say it seems she's on the same path she was last year [en route to her second Breeders' Cup Distaff win]."
Mott reported that Close Hatches
, who Saturday at Parx Racing added the Cotillion Stakes (gr. I) to her grade 1 triumph in the Mother Goose Stakes, emerged from her victory in good order.
"She was a little fresh but she went right to the leaders and put them away and won the race," he said. "She did it with authority."