Delta Princess Squeezes Through to Win Beaugay

(from track report)
Delta Princess and leading rider Mike Luzzi squeezed through on the inside in the stretch, then held off a challenge from second-place Wonder Again to win the $112,400 Beaugay Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Saturday at Aqueduct.

Owner Saud bin Khaled earned $67,440 for the victory.

Trained by Bill Mott, Delta Princess won the 1 1/16-mile turf race for older mares in 1:42 1/5 over a firm course. Heavily favored Voodoo Dancer finished third in her first race of the year.

Mott, who is in Kentucky, was praised in absentia.

"This was a typical Mott filly," Luzzi said. "She ís very professional: She saved ground early, I had plenty of horse on the far turn, and she was real game at the end."

Luzzi, who won the Eclipse Award as the top apprentice jockey in 1989, won his 33rd race of the 2003 Aqueduct Spring meeting and is closing in on his first New York riding title.

Delta Princess, who had won two 1 1/16-mile allowance races at Gulfstream earlier this year, is now a perfect 3-for-3 with earnings of $114,240 in 2003. Overall, the 4-year-old dark bay Kentucky-bred daughter of A.P. Indy, out of Lyphard's Delta (Lyphard) improved her record to 5-1-1 from seven starts with career earnings of $190,813.

"She had to step up today because there were some nice fillies in there," said Leanna Willaford, the assistant trainer for Mott. "I didn't know how well she'd run because she'd never had a chance against stakes horses on turf. She always finds a way to win. Mike (Luzzi) is riding very well and we're very happy to have him on our filly today."

In the Beaugay, Cozzy Corner went led the nine-horse field through the fractions of :23 1/5, :48 1/5 and 1:12 4/5. In the stretch, Luzzi moved had Delta Princess up the rail to the lead . Wonder Again, under John Velazquez, went to the lead from the outside, but, after a short stretch battle, Delta Princess pulled away to win by a half-length. Voodoo Dancer made a big run from the outside to finish third.

Wonder Again and Voodoo Dancer are both grade I stakes winners who were making their first starts of the season. They both got tired.

Said Jean-Luc Samyn, who rode beaten 4-5 choice Voodoo Dancer: "She tried hard but this was her first start of this year. On the positive side, this put her past the million-dollar mark in earnings."

Voodoo Dancer earned $12,364 for third place to move her career earnings to $1,007,952.

Sent off as the 7-1 fourth choice, Delta Princes paid $17, $6.80 and $2.80. Wonder Again returned $4.80 and $2.50. Voodoo Dancer showed for $2.20. The $2 exacta was worth $80.

(Chart, Equibase)