But when the Stronach Stables' homebred tried the turf in his third start, the results were spectacular. The Jimmy Jerkens-trained colt drew off with authority in the stretch of the mile turf race for maidens at Gulfstream Park Dec. 26 to post a four-length victory and stopped the clock in 1:35.01.
His eagerly anticipated second start on the turf will take place Feb. 18 at Gulfstream. Delta Prince is among 12 horses entered in a mile turf race carrying first-level allowance conditions. It will be run as the final race on a 12-race program. A stakes named for Royal Delta will be run earlier on the same card.
Delta Prince's head-turning maiden win didn't catch Jerkens too much by surprise, because the son of Street Cry (IRE) worked smartly on the turf in advance of the race.
"We had given him a break after his last dirt race in New York in November, and he came down here and had a good work on the turf and just ran terrific that day," Jerkens said. "His dam (Delta Princess) was all turf. Royal Delta didn't have to run on the grass, but my horse didn't look like he was going to be a Royal Delta. So I figured, what did we have to lose by running him on the turf? And him being by Street Cry didn't hurt."
"It really looks like this race on Saturday is tough," Jerkens said. "I know he figures to win it the way he ran last time, but this race is a little different scenario than last time. It used to be that when you had older horses who were eligible for this condition this late in their careers they usually weren't much horse, but it's not like that anymore. You get a lot of horses who go wrong early and people give them the time. We don't get in the hurry we used to and are more patient now."