Royal Delta suffers cut on flight; Awesome Feather seeks second BC win

Trainer Bill Mott said the champion and defending Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic winner Royal Delta went to the track Tuesday morning and was not having any problems with the small cut she suffered on her right rear hip while being shipped from Newburgh, New York, early Monday morning.

Mott said the four-year-old filly received a tetanus shot when a vet repaired the problem.

"She had some sutures for a superficial laceration," he said. "It appears as though it came together quite well and closed up nicely. It looked very good this morning, very dry. There was just a small amount of swelling around the area. It was just the first layer of skin. There was no puncture wound. The muscle and the tissue underneath it was very good before he closed it up."

Mott said the cut happened when Royal Delta was entering the stall on the plane at Stewart Airport.

"I'm guessing that there must have been a pin or a latch that was not in the right position when she was backing into the stall," he said. "One of them must have been swung in the wrong direction. That's all I can figure. I wasn't on the plane."

Mott said he was pleased with the way the filly looked at the barn Tuesday morning.

"She's good," he said. "The site that was sutured looked really good. If it stays the way it is right now, it will be a non-issue as far as her performance. There are a lot of things that can happen to horses that we can't see that are a lot worse than that. This is just a layer of skin that got sewn back. That's it."

Stronach Stable's unbeaten champion filly Awesome Feather is one of several standouts in a star-studded field for the Ladies' Classic that also includes the unbeaten champion My Miss Aurelia and multiple Grade 1 winner Questing.

Awesome Feather shipped to California from New York Monday ahead of Hurricane Sandy. Trainer Chad Brown said she shipped well and jogged on the track at Santa Anita on Tuesday morning.

The Ladies' Classic will be Awesome Feather's third start in 2012 and just her fifth race since she won the 2010 Juvenile Fillies. Frank Stronach purchased her at auction following that Breeders' Cup win and turned her over to Brown, who soon after discovered that she had a bowed tendon in her left front.

Given time and therapy, Awesome Feather has come back from what is often a career-ending injury for a second run in the Breeders' Cup. She returned after an 11-month layoff to win twice in late 2011. She then won the Sunshine Millions Distaff in January 2012 but needed another long break. Awesome Feather prepped for the Ladies' Classic by winning an overnight stakes by 11 1/4 lengths on September 20 at Belmont Park.

Brown said he could not compare her recovery from the injury to others he has seen.

"I've had tendons, but this is a totally different situation," he said. "This horse is a special horse. On the average, you don't see this type of thing happen with a tendon."

Brown said the horse deserves the credit for getting back to racing.

"Not every soft tissue injury is black and white," he said. "It depends where it is, the extent of it, or a horse's own tolerance for pain or healing. Every horse is different and every injury is different. I don't think there is a set formula for bringing a horse back like this. There is a lot of luck involved.

"The most important component to the whole equation is her, the filly. She's overcome it. We've tried to help her along and stay out of her way."

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