Last of seven entering the stretch, Delta Prince swung out into the middle of the course by Javier Castellano and mowed down his rivals to win by 1 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:35.97 over the good turf. The 17-10 favorite, he paid $5.40.
“When he swung out it looked like he was kicking in, but I was nervous down the backside that’s for sure,” said trainer Jimmy Jerkens, noting Delta Prince’s position at the back behind a pace of :24.25 and :47.79. “It looked like the leaders were really rolling, but the time wasn’t there…I expected to see faster than that.”
Earning runner-up honors by a neck was 46-1 outsider Clyde’s Image. Qurbaan edged Raging Bull for third by a head. Heart to Heart, the defending titlist, trailed the field after setting the pace.
A six-year-old by Street Cry owned by Stronach Stables, Delta Prince was twice graded-placed in 2017 and earned his first stakes win last June in the King Edward (G2) at Woodbine. Missing by a neck in the Fourstardave H. (G1) at Saratoga next out, he was subsequently fourth in the Woodbine Mile (G1) and third in the Bold Ruler H. (G3), a seven-furlong dirt sprint.
Delta Prince held a brief lead in the stretch of the $7 million Pegasus World Cup Turf (G1) in January before weakening to third. He traveled all the way to California to run in the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (G1) in early March, but the race wound up being postponed when racing ceased at Santa Anita for most of the month.
“It was hard to swallow,” Jerkens said. “At least he handled the shipping well. Sometimes he doesn’t, but this year he’s matured into a real nice horse.”
Bred in Kentucky by his owner, Delta Prince has now earned $1,173,819 from a line of 13-5-3-4. He’s a half-brother to three-time champion mare Royal Delta and Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) winner Crown Queen. All were produced by multiple Grade 3 winner Delta Princess, by A.P. Indy. Delta Prince’s third dam was 1976 champion older mare Proud Delta.
In the inaugural $100,000 Limestone Turf Sprint for three-year-old fillies, Ginger Nut rallied from 10th and surged past 8-1 chance Stillwater Cove to win the 5 1/2-furlong dash by 1 1/4 lengths. Chelsea Cloisters finished third, while 9-5 favorite Play On finished seventh in the field of 12.
Owned by Kosta Hronis, trained by John Sadler, and ridden by Joel Rosario, Ginger Nut paid $9.80 after completing the distance on good ground in 1:03.53.
A daughter of Sir Prancealot, Ginger Nut won three of eight starts in England last season when trained by Richard Hannon. She finished fourth in her U.S. debut on February 23 in the $75,000 Melody of Colors at Gulfstream Park.