Likely Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta (by Empire Maker ) was purchased by Ben Leon’s Besilu Stables for $8.5 million to conclude a highly charged Nov. 8 session of the Keeneland November breeding stock sale.
The price was the third-highest in Keeneland November history, exceeded only by the $10.5 million for Playful Act in 2007 and the $9 million brought by Ashado in 2005.
The sale of Royal Delta, one of the last horses through the ring during the session, came in an electrically charged atmosphere that reminded many observers of the sales previous to the downturn in the breeding and sales economies.
The filly, fresh off a scintillating victory in the Nov. 4 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I), was produced from the multiple grade III winner Delta Princess (by A.P. Indy). Royal Delta was consigned to the Keeneland sale as Hip No. 427 as part of the dispersal of the late Saud bin Khaled’s Palides Investments.
In the Ladies’ Classic, Royal Delta posted her fifth career win in eight starts and extended her earnings to $1,694,600 with the winner’s slice of $1,080,000 and likely sewed up an Eclipse Award. Earlier this year, she won the TVG Alabama Stakes (gr. I) and Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II).
Also during the Nov. 8 session of the auction, Frank Stronach went to $2.6 million to purchase Delta Princess (by A.P. Indy) and Besilu Stables acquired her Smart Strike weanling filly for $1.6 million
Bred by Palides, Delta Princess had 11 wins from ages 2 to 6 and earned $740,918 and accounted for the Locust Grove, Early Times Mint Julep, and Beaugay Handicap (all gr. III), and three additional stakes. The mare also placed in seven other stakes events.