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HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Allen Stable homebred Mrs. Danvers must prove whether or not her last-out romping victory was a fluke in Saturday’s $100,000 Royal Delta Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park.
The Royal Delta is a 1 1/16-mile dirt route restricted to fillies and mares ages 4 and up. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 12-race card and has a local post time of 5:16 PM.
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Here’s a look at the full field for the Royal Delta:
1. High Regard 12/1 – She makes her 2021 debut back at the stakes level for the ninth time, though the best she’s done against this competition in the past was thrice finishing third. She rallied from last in a short field of five to defeat optional claimers last November going this far at Churchill Downs, where she has a 11-4-1-3 record – though anywhere else, she’s just 11-0-1-1.
2. Gibberish 6/1 – She steps back up to the graded stakes ranks on the heels of a 3-race win streak that most recently includes last November’s Treasure Chest Stakes, held 1 mile over a sloppy (sealed) Delta Downs course. She’s won 4 of 5 dirt starts since joining trainer Saffie Joseph Jr.; her lone defeat came in the Indiana Oaks (G3) just 1 start after she broke her maiden.
3. Eres Tu 3/1 – The ultra-classy Arnaud Delacour trainee brings her own 3-race win streak into this event, but hers is arguably more impressive: 2 of those came at the stakes level, including the Allaire DuPont (G3) last out. She should continue her upward trajectory under 3-time reigning Eclipse Award-winning jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., who picks up the mount.
“When you look at the type of horses she ran against as a 3-year-old – there’s a bunch of Grade 1 winners in there – she showed that she was a quality filly,” Delacour said. “The time off gave here the time to mature – that’s the key with her.”
4. Dream Marie 6/1 – She stretches back out to two turns after finishing second in the 1-mile Rampart Stakes (G3) and fifth in the 7-furlong Inside Information Stakes (G2), both over this course. She earned her first route score 3 starts back when trouncing Gulfstream Park West optional claimers by 8 3/4 lengths under Leonel Reyes, who rides for the fifth straight time.
5. Queen Nekia 15/1 – The field’s second Saffie runner was no match for stablemate Gibberish in the Treasure Chest, finishing fourth beaten 3 lengths. She won over this course and distance 13 months ago while facing optional claimers in her first start since the current barn claimed her for $25k, but her only other victory in 8 subsequent starts came sprinting.
6. Bajan Girl 9/2 – This speedy filly makes her 2021 debut after she was most recently third in the Rampart; she was beaten 7 1/2 lengths while running on her wrong lead in the stretch, hinting that she was on E. She obliterated her rivals twice in 1-mile optional claiming routes at Gulfstream Park West last fall, including Dream Marie 1 start before that foe’s last win.
7. Mrs. Danvers 2/1 – The morning line favorite won 2 straight to end 2020, including a sharp 6 1/4-length gate-to-wire score in the 1 1/8-mile Comely Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct. Trainer Shug McGaughey let her breathe since that late November effort produced a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure which towers over these rivals. The Comely was her first attempt routing.
8. Hallawallah 12/1 – Trainer Juan Avila’s mare with a palindrome name finally earned her second career victory (and first since her debut) with a strong 3 1/4-length score in a one-turn mile against local optional claimers last month. A well-beaten seventh in the 2019 Indiana Oaks (G3) (her only route try to date), she must improve from a speed figure standpoint.
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