Morning Line Goes to Dubai - Royal Delta

By Michele MacDonald

      Even in the dim half light between night and morning, there was no mistaking her.

      Royal Delta strode on to the Meydan Racecourse track for the first time on March 24 like the champion she is, thrusting her strong shoulders forward and gazing at the vast grandstand with her eyes bright before surging into a gallop.

Caption: Royal Delta
Photo: Michele MacDonald

     America’s best three-year-old filly of 2011 is about to take on a tough group of seasoned male Group 1 winners from Asia, Europe and Australia in addition to multiple Grade 1 winner Game On Dude. In the process, she will try to become the first female runner to win the world’s richest race, the $10 million Dubai World Cup (UAE-gr. I), just a week from today.

    “She feels great,” said Leana Williford, assistant to trainer Bill Mott, who guided Royal Delta through her gallop.

    “She has a real presence about her,” Willaford added.”She’s a little quirky to ride; occasionally, she likes to get a little strong. She’s just a madam—she wants everything her own way.”

     Mylor Rider, a stable foreman for Mott who is helping care for Royal Delta in Dubai, described her as “very opinionated.

     “She walked off the van (that brought her to Meydan from the airport) and acted like she owned the place,” he said. “She wants things done a particular way, and that’s her way. So, we try to be patient with her and do things with her in her time.”

Caption: Royal Delta
Photo: Michele MacDonald

      Since Royal Delta has never previously faced male runners, it is a great sporting gesture by Besilu Stables owner Benjamin Leon, who paid $8.5-million for Royal Delta at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale, to send her to Dubai to run against elite international competition.

     Willaford and Rider noted there are two factors in her favor—the 2000-meter distance (about 1 ¼ miles) is clearly a strong point with Royal Delta after her romp in the Alabama Stakes (gr. I), and she also has proven form over a synthetic surface as she won a race on Keeneland’s Polytrack last April.

     “She looked like she just skipped over (the Meydan surface) this morning,” Rider observed.

     Leon and Mott will be arriving in Dubai over the next several days to witness their champion’s run for history.

     In the meantime, Willaford and Rider will be keeping her happy with her favorite treat, peppermints, and some time outside in the afternoon when she can soak up some of the Dubai sunshine on a leisurely stroll that includes stops for nibbles of alfalfa.

Caption: Royal Delta in Dubai
Photo: Michele MacDonald


Leave a Comment:

Maurice Miller

What a nice filly! Good luck team Mott.

26 Mar 2012 8:09 AM
Linda in Texas

Michele, nice article, Royal Delta is a beautiful specimen and your photos show that so well. i loved the statement that "she walked off the van, looked around and acted like she owned the place. She's just a madam, she wants everything her way." You know, she is my kind of gal. Totally.

I will be pulling for her and thinking real positive thoughts for sure.

Thank you for the nice article.

26 Mar 2012 9:16 AM
Love 'em all

You made my day, Michele!  Thoroughly enjoyed reading RD's update and seeing her wonderful pics.

Will be rooting for her this Saturday with my heart and soul along with all her many fans.

Thank you so much.

26 Mar 2012 10:10 AM
Blind Luck

Yes, she certainly is lovely. I will be rooting for her, know it is going to be a very hard thing to accomplish.  Wishing her to come out of the race healthy. Stay safe Madam.

26 Mar 2012 10:37 AM
Tammy Moore

Great filly, she deserves to have everything her way. Great article. Good luck, I hope she blows the boys away.

26 Mar 2012 11:27 AM

Michele ~ Your opening sentence is poetically descriptive: "Even in the dim half light between night and morning, there was no mistaking her."  It drew me into your essay, which I thoroughly enjoyed--Good writing!  Loved your photographs of Royal Delta; my favorite is the close-up portrait with the caption 'Royal Delta"--it conveys some of her "opinionated" spirit.  Wishing RD a good and safe trip.  Thank you for your evocative essay.

26 Mar 2012 3:00 PM

Also enjoyed all the comments thus far (11:27 AM) as you all expressed my thoughts and feelings about Royal Delta as well.  Beautiful mare.

26 Mar 2012 3:02 PM

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