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Jan 20, 2004

Royal Delta one to beat in Personal Ensign Stakes


Saratoga Springs, NY (Sports Network) - Champion filly Royal Delta looms large over five rivals in Sunday's $600,000 Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga Race Course. The six older females will travel 1 1/8-miles with the winner going to the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic.

The Personal Ensign is a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" race giving the winner an automatic spot in the Ladies' Classic on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita. Royal Delta won last year's Ladies' Classic as a 3-year-old.

Trained by Bill Mott, Royal Delta would be her trainer's second horse to win the Personal Ensign, joining Link River (1994).

Royal Delta will again be ridden by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith and the pair will break from post four. Smith has been aboard the 4-year-old the last two starts, both victories.

Owned by Besilu Stables, Royal Delta is coming off a neck win over Tiz Miz Sue in the Delaware Handicap on July 21.

"She only won because she is very special," Mott said about the Del 'Cap win. "Tiz Miz Sue ran a gallant race. She ran really good, but we were just a little better."

Royal Delta, 2011 champion 3-year-old filly, began 2012 by finishing second in the Sabin at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 25 to Awesome Maria. She failed in the Dubai World Cup when she finished ninth on March 31, but easily won the Fleur de Lis by eight lengths at Churchill Downs on June 16.

Royal Delta has won seven of 12 lifetime starts for $2,263,851.

Tiz Miz Sue will start the Personal Ensign from the outside post with Joe Rocco Jr. riding. The 5-year-old mare, owned by CresRan Stable and trained by Steve Hobby, finished third in the Personal Ensign last year.

In six starts this year, Tiz Miz Sue has one win and four seconds. She opened 2012 with seconds in the Pippin and Bayakoa at Oaklawn Park, but followed by winning the Azeri at the Hot Springs, Ark. track. Remaining at Oaklawn, the 5-year-old was third in the Apple Blossom to Plum Pretty. She prepped for the Del 'Cap with a second at Delaware Park in the Obeah.

"She ran a huge race, that's all there is to it," Hobby said about the mare's Del 'Cap. "She was training well, and we got nine pounds from (Royal Delta). She came out better than I had any right to expect. Not tired, ate up, and went back to the track."

Tiz Miz Sue has earned $644,709 with six wins in 26 starts.

Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin will saddle It's Tricky in the Personal Ensign. Perfect in three starts this year, the 4-year-old filly will start from the inside post with jockey Eddie Castro.

Owned by Godolphin Stable, It's Tricky has posted wins this year in the Top Flight and Distaff Handicaps at Aqueduct, and most recently the Ogden Phipps Handicap on May 28 at Belmont Park.

As a 3-year-old, the filly was runner-up to Royal Delta in Saratoga's Alabama and the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic, but won the Coaching Club American Oaks when Royal Delta finished third.

It's Tricky has won eight of 12 lifetime starts for more than $1.5 million.

In post position order here is the field for the Personal Ensign: It's Tricky, Eddie Castro; Brushed by a Star, Corey Nakatani; Love and Pride, John Velazquez; Royal Delta, Mike Smith; R Gypsy Gold, Javier Castellano and Tiz Miz Sue, Joe Rocco Jr.

Post-time Sunday will be approximately 5:56 p.m. (ET).

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