Palides Investments’ Royal Delta, an Empire Maker 3-year-old who could face older fillies and mares for the first time in the Beldame Invitational (gr. I) Oct. 1 at Belmont Park, turned in a :59.36 five-furlong breeze at Belmont Sunday, Sept. 18, in what was her third workout following her 5 1/2-length victory in the TVG Alabama Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 20 at Saratoga.
“If you get (a workout) in between (races) you can put in a nice, strong work in them,” said Leana Willaford, assistant to trainer Bill Mott. “We’ll have one more before the Beldame."
Royal Delta’s workout was the third quickest of 29 at the distance Sept. 18.
“Anytime you’ll be going into any of those big races, you want to have a good work in them,” said Willaford. “Our M.O. is two works prior (to the race) we’ll put a nice, strong work in them, and then more of an on-the-bridle work right before the race. For us, that seems to work. I know she went fast today, but she did it very easily. We’ll probably come back and put a half-mile in her.”
Winchester, who will attempt to defend his title in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) Oct. 1, turned in a five-furlong breeze toward that goal Sunday, Sept. 18, at Belmont Park. Sent out in company with Mr. Ryder, Winchester was clocked in 1:03.56 over Belmont’s firm inner turf course.
“It was a nice work, just a maintenance work,” said Christophe Clement, who trains the 6-year-old son of Theatrical for Bert and Diana Firestone.
Winner of Saratoga’s Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) Aug. 13 in his most recent outing, Winchester seeks the fifth grade I score of his career in the Joe Hirsch.
Clement added that reigning champion turf male Gio Ponti , who worked five furlongs in 1:03.57 over the inner turf on Wednesday, Sept. 14, would breeze next Sunday, Sept. 25, toward a planned start in the Shadwell Turf Mile (gr. IT) at Keeneland Oct. 8.