Royal Delta, the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (gr. I) winner who later sold for $8.5 million, is back with trainer Bill Mott after spending some time on owner Benjamin Leon Jr.’s farm.
Mott said that Leon, who outbid prominent owner Frank Stronach for the daughter of Empire Maker who likely sewed up an Eclipse Award with her Breeders’ Cup win, first contacted him Nov. 28 about continuing to train Royal Delta and that the filly arrived at his Payson Park barn two days later.
“We’re very pleased and couldn’t happier,” Mott said Dec. 5.
Royal Delta’s purchase price at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale from the estate of the late Prince Saud bin Khaled’s Palides Investments, was the third-highest in sale history. Following his purchase, Leon was noncommittal about whether the filly would continue to be trained by Mott, who swept the top Breeders’ Cup races this year by also saddling Classic (gr. I) winner Drosselmeyer for WinStar Farm.
Multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher and his father, J.J. Pletcher, have had a close working relationship with Leon since the owner began purchasing horses and building his stable, leading to uncertainty as to who would condition Royal Delta under the new ownership.
Mott said one goal for Royal Delta would be the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), although no invitation has yet been extended to the filly.