Royal Delta gave Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott his second consecutive win and fifth overall in the Ladies' Classic, putting him in position to sweep the weekend's biggest races, a feat he accomplished last year. He has three runners in the $5 million Classic on Saturday, a race he won last year with Drosselmeyer.
"We're certainly not counting our chickens before they hatch," Mott said. "I think any one of the three has a chance."
Royal Delta was the 8-5 favorite in the field of eight fillies and mares, considered one of the deepest fields among the 15 races during the world championships. She ran 11⁄8 miles in 1:48.80 and paid $5.40, $3.60 and $2.60. She won by 2 ½ lengths last year with Jose Lezcano aboard.
This time, Royal Delta took charge early, making her way to the lead on a brisk pace. Turning for home, it appeared My Miss Aurelia and Include Me Out were going to overtake Royal Delta, but Smith applied a left-handed whip and she dug in gamely to hold off the challenge.
"She's just brilliant, she really is," Smith said. "I was always taught when you're on a talented horse stay out of their way. I felt confident all the way around there."
My Miss Aurelia returned $5.80 and $4, losing for the first time in seven career races.
Include Me Out was another 1¼ lengths back in third and paid $5.20 to show.
Six different jockeys, trainers and owners won each of the Breeders' Cup races in front of 34,619 fans on a sunny day.
The biggest upset was Calidoscopio's 4¼-length victory in the $500,000 Marathon, jockey Aaron Gryder's first Breeders' Cup win. The 17-1 shot from Argentina paid $36.40 to win and at 9 became the oldest Breeders' Cup champion.
Age also played a part in the second-biggest upset. Sent off at 15-1 odds, Hightail kicked off the two-day world championships with a nose victory in the $500,000 Juvenile Sprint, giving Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas his leading 19th Breeders' Cup victory at 77.
Saturday's TV schedule
P Breeders' Cup World Championships, 1:30 p.m., NBCSN
• Breeders' Cup Classic, 6 p.m., Ch. 5