April 18, 2024

Royal Delta dead at age nine due to foaling complications

Royal Delta captured the Sabin Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park on February 17, 2013 (c) Eleanor Gustafson/Adam Coglianese Photography

Three-time champion and back-to-back Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (G1) winner Royal Delta died earlier this week due to foaling complications, it was announced Friday. Her Galileo filly was reportedly doing fine.

Following a 12-length maiden debut romp at Belmont Park in October 2010, Royal Delta would go on to compete seven times as a sophomore. Based on her initial score she was sent off the favorite when making her seasonal and stakes debut in the Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs off the five-month break, but recorded what would be the first of only four unplaced runs during her career.

The Empire Maker filly would go on to capture the Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (G2), Alabama Stakes (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic while placing in the Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) and Beldame Invitational (G1) as a sophomore.

That was more than enough for the dark bay miss to be honored with her first Eclipse Award as the 2011 champion three-year-old filly. She also found a new owner as, just a few days after the Breeders’ Cup, Besilu Stables purchased the Palides Investments N. V. Inc. homebred for $8.5 million out of the Keeneland November sale.

Though she ran in new silks, Royal Delta remained with trainer Bill Mott, recording her four-year-old bow at Gulfstream Park in the Sabin Stakes (G3). She finished second in that contest and then shipped overseas to take part in the 2012 Dubai World Cup (UAE-G1). That was during the brief five-year period the race was run on the synthetic Tapeta, and Royal Delta did not do well when finishing ninth on the all-weather surface.

It would be 2 1/2 months before the Kentucky-bred filly showed back up in competition but she easily stamped herself as the division leader upon doing so. She romped by eight lengths in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (G2), scored in the Delaware Handicap (G2), just missed by a half-length in the Personal Ensign Handicap (G1) and dominated by 9 1/2 lengths in the Beldame Invitational.

All that led up to a gate-to-wire victory in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic, making her only the second dual winner of the race after Hall of Famer Bayakoa. It also led to a second Eclipse Award as the 2012 champion older mare.

Royal Delta followed the same scheduled during her five-year-old season, but this time triumphed in the Sabin by five lengths before heading to Dubai for a subpar 10th-placing in the World Cup. She ran second in the Fleur de Lis but got back on track with a 10 3/4-length triumph in the Delaware Handicap (G1) and 4 1/2-length score in the Personal Ensign. The dark bay miss ran second in the Beldame and closed out her career with a fourth-place run in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff behind Beholder.

Despite the Breeders’ Cup loss, Royal Delta was still named the 2013 champion older female. She headed off to the breeding shed, taking a trip across the Atlantic to visit Galileo. Unfortunately, she didn’t get in foal that first time and miscarried when sent back to Galileo for 2015. The filly who was just born is her only offspring.