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Published on Sep 28, 2013
In the days leading up to the Grade 1, $400,000 Beldame Invitational, trainer Todd Pletcher said it was critical for jockey Javier Castellano not to take his 3-year-old star filly Princess of Sylmar out of her track-and-attack running style when facing older champion Royal Delta.
In the Belmont Park paddock on Saturday, in the minutes before giving Castellano a leg up for the race, Pletcher reminded his jockey of the importance of the instructions. Castellano, the leading rider in New York, responded perfectly, reserving Princess of Sylmar through the opening six furlongs, engaging Royal Delta on the turn and pulling away under a strong hand ride to win by two lengths.
The upset victory all but sewed up the 3-year-old filly championship for Princess of Sylmar, who defeated the best older female runner in the country in her first try outside of the division.
Off as the 2-1 second choice in the field of five, Princess of Sylmar ran the 1 1/8-mile Beldame in 1:47.93 seconds, getting the final eighth of a mile in a swift 12.67 seconds.