Besilu Stables’ Royal Delta took control after an early scramble for the lead and never looked back en route to a strong victory in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita Park Nov. 2.

Trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Mike Smith, Royal Delta won the Ladies’ Classic for the second consecutive year. The 4-year-old Empire Maker filly was bred in Kentucky by Palides Investments and is the champion 3-year-old filly of 2011.

Royal Delta, who paid $5.40 to win, covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.80 on a fast track. My Miss Aurelia, who sat inside behind the winner, rallied for second, while Include Me Out made a strong run into the stretch but flattened a bit to finish third.

Questing dropped well back at the start and was eased on the backstretch while struggling over the firm ground with no apparent injury. Meanwhile, Awesome Feather, 10-for-10 going into the Ladies’ Classic, tasted defeat for the first time.

Royal Delta, Love and Pride, and Include Me Out all went for the lead, but Royal Delta found the rail and led through an opening quarter-mile in :22.69. She nursed a one-length lead over Love and Pride to her outside while Include Me Out stalked in third and My Miss Aurelia in fourth after a half-mile in a quick :45.81.

Awesome Feather, in fifth on the outside, never kicked in, leaving the race to the top four after six furlongs in 1:09.80. Royal Delta opened up by a 1 1/2 lengths at the top of the stretch as My Miss Aurelia, who also got an inside trip, began to close.

Include Me Out made a nice bid three-wide into the stretch and appeared to have run, but the track wasn