February 21, 2024

Queen Nekia rallies last-to-first in Royal Delta stunner

Queen Nekia
Queen Nekia wins the Royal Delta at Gulfstream Park (Coglianese Photos/Ryan Thompson)

Queen Nekia took advantage of a favorable setup in Saturday’s $100,000 Royal Delta S. (G3) at Gulfstream Park, closing last-to-first to record a 29-1 upset.

After saving ground aboard the six-year-old mare, Corey Lanerie guided his mount through tight quarters along the rail entering the stretch. Queen Nekia overhauled Eres Tu and drove to a 1 3/4-length decision.

She completed 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.62.

Saffie Joseph Jr. trains the Florida-bred daughter of Harlington for Ken Copenhaver. Claimed for $25,000 at Gulfstream last winter, Queen Nekia finished third in the Royal Delta two starts later, and she earned her first stakes win in the Dance to Bristol S. at Charles Town in late August.

However, the dark bay had lost three straight, most recently finishing fourth in the Nov. 27 Treasure Chest S. at Delta Downs, prior to Saturday’s race.

Queen Nekia has now earned $489,736 from a 32-10-6-7 record.

Eres Tu, the 2-1 second choice following consecutive stakes wins, made a bold move to the lead in upper stretch, but she did not have enough to withstand Queen Nekia in the latter stages. It was another 4 3/4 lengths to Bajan Girl in third.

Next came Gibberish and 3-2 favorite Mrs. Danvers, who dueled through the early stages before giving way at the conclusion of far turn. Hallawallah, High Regard, and Dream Marie completed the order.

Bred by Porter Racing Stable, Queen Nekia is out of the multiple stakes-winning Double Honor mare All Night Labor.