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Favorite Royal Delta wins BC Ladies' Classic

Favorite Royal Delta wins BC Ladies' Classic

Royal Delta won the $2 million Ladies' Classic by 2 1/2 lengths under the lights Friday at Churchill Downs, capping an opening day of the Breeders' Cup that included three upsets, with John Velazquez riding two of them.
Royal Delta rallied in the final furlong to give Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his second straight win and fourth overall in the Ladies' Classic. The 3-year-old filly was the slight 2-1 favorite over Plum Pretty.
"It's nice just to win one of these, let alone two in a row," Mott said.
European-based horses were shut out during the six-race Breeders' Cup card, while Canada and Saudi Arabia had a win apiece in front of 40,677 on a sunny but chilly day.
In the Ladies' Classic, Royal Delta ran 1 1-8 miles in 1:50.78 under Jose Lezcano.
"She broke real good and she was very comfortable and relaxed," Lezcano said. "When I asked her, she gave me a very good kick."
It's Tricky finished second and Pachattack was another 2 1/4 lengths back in third. Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty, trained by Bob Baffert, was fourth in the 10-horse field.
Mott wasn't the only Hall of Fame trainer to win. Baffert opened the day with a victory by 2-5 favorite Secret Circle in the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint, new this year.
"I thought going in that if he didn't run well, I might be in for a bad weekend," said Baffert, who will saddle Game On Dude in the $5 million Classic on Saturday.
The day's biggest upset came in the Filly & Mare Turf, with Velazquez aboard 27-1 shot Perfect Shirl for owner Charles Fipke and trainer Roger Attfield, both based in Canada. He also rode 6-1 Stephanie's Kitten to a win by three-quarters of a length in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf.
The other surprise was 20-1 Musical Romance winning the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint by 1 1/4 lengths.
My Miss Aurelia improved to 4-0 with a three-length victory in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies as the 2-1 favorite.
In the Ladies' Classic, Plum Pretty took the early lead as expected while running slow fractions, with Royal Delta in fourth. Turning for home, Plum Pretty began fading and Lezcano swung Royal Delta four-wide to come charging down the stretch and earn her fifth win in eight career starts.
"I started to get a little worried because the speed seemed to be carrying very well," Mott said. "About the time I started to worry, I saw her starting to gain momentum. Once she got to 'em, it was adios, see you later."
The win clinched year-end 3-year-old filly honors for Royal Delta, whose owner Saudi Prince Saud bin Khaled died in February. She is set to be sold in an auction that begins Monday at Keeneland in a complete dispersal of the prince's racing stable.