LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Royal Delta won the $2 million Ladies’ Classic by 2½ lengths under the lights Friday at Churchill Downs, capping an opening day of the Breeders’ Cup that included three upsets.
Royal Delta rallied in the final furlong to give Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his second straight win and fourth overall in the Ladies’ Classic. The 3-year-old filly was the slight 2-1 favorite over Plum Pretty.
John Velazquez rode two of the three upsets on the six-race Breeders’ Cup card. European-based horses were shut out, while Canada and Saudi Arabia had a win apiece in front of 40,677 on a sunny but chilly day.
In the Ladies’ Classic, Royal Delta ran 1⅛ miles in 1:50.78 under Jose Lezcano and paid $6.40 to win.
It’s Tricky finished second and Pachattack was 2¼ lengths back in third. Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty, trained by Bob Baffert, was fourth in the 10-horse field.
Mott wasn’t the only Hall of Fame trainer to win. Baffert opened the day with a victory by 2-5 favorite Secret Circle in the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint, new this year.
The day’s biggest upset came in the Filly & Mare Turf, with Velazquez aboard 27-1 shot Perfect Shirl. He also rode 6-1 Stephanie’s Kitten to a win in the $1 million Juvenile Fillies Turf.
The other surprise was 20-1 Musical Romance winning the $1 million Filly & Mare Sprint.
My Miss Aurelia improved to 4-0 with a three-length victory in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies as the 2-1 favorite.