Delta Prince enjoyed the finest hour of his career here at Woodbine this June, winning the Grade 2 King Edward over the Ricoh Woodbine Mile course and distance.
Now the up and coming five-year-old trained by James Jerkens will be looking for a new crowning achievement in the Grade 1, $800,000 Ricoh Woodbine Mile.
“He's a lengthy kind of horse,” said Jerkens, who believes the sweeping turn on the E.P. Taylor course is a good fit for his budding star. “He's not short coupled, light on his feet.”
Delta Prince has a kingly pedigree as a half-brother to Royal Delta, winner of two Breeders' Cup Distaffs and three straight Eclipse Awards for her division. His dam also produced Crown Queen, victorious in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on Keeneland's turf course.
So, it is no surprise that Delta Prince is not only talented but has developed into a top-notch turf performer after beginning his career with two decent efforts on the main track. But after displaying steady improvement through 2017, Delta Prince wound up on the sidelines.
Unraced as a juvenile, Delta Prince joined the Jerkens barn at Palm Meadows as a three-year-old and began his career late that year, making his first two starts on the dirt in New York.
“The first time he ran real green,” said Jerkens. “Then, in the mile race he ran well, but he was hitting his pasterns real bad. So I thought I'd try him on turf, and he wouldn't hit his pasterns. The first time he ran on turf, he ran off the screen. I've kept him on turf ever since.”
Delta Prince continued his upswing on the grass but went to the sidelines in early September after finishing a good third in the Grade 2 Bernard Baruch over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Saratoga.
“He had some little nagging things that just got the better of him,” said Jerkens. “We were keeping him going but we didn't want to risk serious injury. He just needed lots of time.”
That prescription appears to have paid off in spades as Delta Prince, making his first start in almost 10 months, returned victorious in the King Edward.
In his lone start since then, Delta Prince wound up farther off the pace than planned and could not run down a loose-on-the lead Voodoo Song in Saratoga's Grade 1 Fourstardave over one mile of “good” turf.
“I thought he ran very well,” said Jerkens. “The course was a lot softer than he likes and he broke real flat-footed or he wouldn't have been that far out of it. He had to make a big, long run and that's hard on soft turf.
“Since he's come back, so far, he's the best he's ever been for a long time.”
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