The Great Royal Delta

Profile Picture: D.S. Williamson

D.S. Williamson

February 13th, 2017

The great Royal Delta, a three-time champion, passed away late last week due to foaling complications. The broodmare was 9-years-old. Royal Delta had retired in 2013 after being one of the best female thoroughbred horses of her generation. She won the Eclipse Award for Champion 3 Year Old Filly in 2011. She won the Eclipse for Champion Older Mare in 2012 and in 2013.

Sired by Empire Maker, Royal Delta's mother, Delta Princess, was sired by A.P. Indy. She had royalty running through her veins. Although she passed away last week, the foal, a bay filly sired by Galileo, survived. See below for four of Royal Delta's most memorable wins.


2011 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic

What an awesome win by Royal Delta in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic. Plum Pretty was so highly regarded that she went off at 2 to 1 just like Royal Delta did. Plum Pretty took the lead easily. In fact, at the top of the stretch, I thought, just like Trevor did, that Plum Pretty was on her way to a front-running score. But, then, Royal Delta kicked it up a notch.

2012 Grade 2 Delaware Handicap

Sure, Royal Delta went off at 1 to 2 in the 2012 Delaware Handicap. But, so what? She still showed what makes the great ones great. While Awesome Maria threw in the towel early after Love and Pride set blistering fractions, Royal Delta had to hold off Delaware based long shot Tiz Miz Sue. Man, did she ever! The greatest racehorses step it up when faced with a challenge. That was Royal Delta.

2011 Grade 1 Alabama

The 2011 Grade 1 Alabama was Royal Delta's coming out party. Plum Pretty and It's Tricky battled each other for favoritism in the Alabama while Royal Delta went off at a stunning 5 to 1. Plum Pretty had taken home the Kentucky Oaks' Trophy earlier in the year. It's Tricky had won the prestigious Coaching Club American Oaks. The Alabama set up as a race for 3 Year Old Filly of the Year between Plum Pretty and It's Tricky. But, Royal Delta displayed a turn of foot rarely seen in horses. She made up an incredible amount of ground in a short amount of time. So, while Plum Pretty and It's Tricky battled it out during their own personal duel in the stretch, Royal Delta took off past both of them.

2012 Beldame Invitational

It's Tricky went off at 6/5. Royal Delta went off at 4/5. The reason that I love this race is because Royal Delta showed that she didn't have to come from the clouds. Her versatility was on full display when beating rival It's Tricky by around 10 lengths. Royal Delta left no doubt that she was much better than her rival. This was one of Royal Delta's most impressive wins just because she cruised alongside It's Tricky and then buried that horse when Mike Smith asked her to.