Three-time champion Royal Delta died due to complications foaling a filly by Galileo at Coolmore earlier this week. Retired in November of 2013, Royal Delta was sent to Ireland to be bred to Galileo in the 2014 breeding season, but she did not get in foal. Another attempt was made the following year, again to Galileo, and she aborted the foal. The same mating in 2016 resulted in the surviving bay filly.
“This is a terrible loss for all,” said owner Benjamin Leon. “However, we would like to thank the Coolmore team for the outstanding job done through the years, especially to James Mockridge who dealt with Royal Delta on a daily basis. We also appreciate the fine care by veterinarians William Coleman, Paddy Merrigan, Don Hannigan and Ger Kelly. ”
Bred in Kentucky by Palides, the nom de course of the late Prince Saud bin Khaled, Royal Delta was by Empire Maker out of the A.P. Indy mare Delta Princess. She was an Eclipse Champion at 3, 4, and 5, winning 12 races and placing six times from 22 starts. Back-to-back winner of the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic-G1 Royal Delta posted a total of six G1 victories, won 10 graded stakes, and earned over $4.8 million. When asked, trainer Bill Mott was quick to point out that Royal Delta won graded stakes at seven different tracks.
After a scintillating victory in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic at Churchill Downs as a 3-year-old, Royal Delta was sent to the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale as part of the Paildes Investments dispersal following its owner's death. Royal Delta lit up the Keeneland pavilion as Besilu Stables' Benjamin Leon outbid Frank Stronach to buy the filly for $8.5 million, the third-highest price ever at a Keeneland November sale.
Kept in training and returned to trainer Bill Mott for her 4-year-old season, Royal Delta retained her championship form winning the Beldame S.-G1 and two other graded stakes in addition to the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic-G1, and placed in the Personal Ensign H.-G1 and Sabin S.-G3. The following season included a tilt at the Dubai World Cup-G1 and she won two G1 stakes and another graded victory, performances impressive enough to garner a third consecutive Eclipse championship.
“I've had many great moments in my life but they and pleasure that Royal Delta has brought to me and my family is indescribable,” Leon said. “She offered us the opportunity to enjoy wonderful places, people, and experiences. She was a gift that allowed us many thrilling moments and we will be forever grateful.”
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