SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Two-time champion Royal Delta cruised home under Mike Smith to win the Grade I Personal Ensign by 4 1/2 lengths over Authenticity at Saratoga Race Course.
It was such a commanding performance that many in the crowd of 18,706 stood and gave her an ovation before she had even hit the wire.
"I just was happy I got away good today," Smith said. "Once we did that and she got into her monster stride, horses have to take two [steps] to her one, it seems like. She's a machine. Down the lane, she got to looking around at the tracks a little bit, so I got after her just a little to keep her going. She's really big, so you hate for her to gear too much down and have someone come running, and it's hard to get going again. Other than that, everything was wonderful."
Royal Delta was upset by long shot Love and Pride in the Personal Ensign last year, but it didn't prevent her from winning the older female Eclipse Award.
Trainer Bill Mott said before the race that Royal Delta would be nominated to both the Breeders' Cup Distaff and Classic, but that he is leaning toward the Distaff, which would be a record-breaking third straight victory for her if she won that race.