Royal Delta, the Breeders’ Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) winner and likely champion 3-year-old female, had her first official work of the year Jan. 10 at Payson Park Training Center in Florida. The daughter of Empire Maker worked an easy three furlongs in :36 with trainer Bill Mott looking on.
Mott said Royal Delta has been on the track for about a month, but “still is on a little bit of a vacation” even though she is slowly getting ready for her 2012 campaign, which will likely include a start in the $10 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) at the end of March.
“She looks good; she still gets turned out in the paddock for a couple hours every day before she trains,” Mott said. “She’s enjoying herself.”
A four-time winner last year including the Alabama (gr. I) and Black-Eyed Susan (gr. II), Royal Delta was bought by Ben Leon’s Besilu Stables for $8.5 million at the Keeneland November sale. The new owner, who bought her from breeder Palides Investments N. V., decided to leave her in training with Mott for 2012.
“It’s good for me and everyone else in the barn,” Mott said. “The people that were able to work around her before are excited to have her back; it’s just good for the morale of the stable. It gives us all something to look forward to this year. It’s a new challenge for us this year to keep things going.”
Mott said the main goal for the first half of the season is the March 31 World Cup, but he is undecided whether she will have a prep leading up to the world’s richest race.
“We’ll train her this month and see,” he said. “We’ll keep that option open.
“The World Cup is the goal for the first half of the year. We’ll move in that direction. If all is well we’d love to run back in the Breeders’ Cup in the fall. She would obviously have a break after Dubai if we do go, and then we’ll start up the second half of the year and hit some of the nicer filly races.”