Trainer Chad Brown figured to score a record fifth win in the $479,000 Jenny Wiley (G1) on Saturday, with a pair of Grade 1 queens representing him in the Keeneland feature. Bettors ended up preferring the even-money Regal Glory slightly over younger stablemate Shantisara (6-5), and the duo proved the market spot-on to deliver an all-Brown exacta.
Regal Glory joins Brown’s honor roll of Ball Dancing (2015), Sistercharlie (2018), and two-time winner Rushing Fall (2019-20). Brown was eclipsing his mentor, the late Bobby Frankel, and Bill Mott who had sent out four Jenny Wiley winners. Frankel’s quartet came in a row – Tates Creek and Sea of Showers followed by Intercontinental’s repeat (2004-05). Mott’s spanned a decade, from Misspitch (1994) and Apolda (1996) to Wend (2006) and My Typhoon (2007).
“I was thinking of him (Frankel) walking down here,” Brown said. “I spent a few Jenny Wileys in the paddock with him when I was working for him and he taught me a lot. Luckily, I’ve had the horses and the team to work with these horses.”
The six-year-old Regal Glory might well have been luxuriating in a paddock by now, especially having earned her deserved Grade 1 in the Nov. 28 Matriarch (G1). But owner Peter Brant opted to keep her in training rather than sending her off to the broodmare life, and she’s vindicated that decision.
“It was (Brant’s) call to keep her in training this year,” Brown said. “I probably would have bred her, and he said, ‘No, she’s in good form and I want to see her run another year. I have a feeling this is her year,’ and so far he’s right.”
Most recently successful in the Jan. 29 Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf (G3), Regal Glory used her tactical speed here to defeat Shantisara. The daughter of Animal Kingdom tracked frontrunning Navratilova through fractions of :24.41, :48.14, and 1:11.85 on the good turf, and took aim upon straightening. Shantisara raced within striking distance herself, but found that she’d given Regal Glory too much rope.
Quickening decisively in upper stretch, Regal Glory took charge and spurted 1 1/2 lengths clear. Shantisara accelerated to claw back some yardage, reducing the winner’s margin to one length, without causing a fright. Regal Glory negotiated 1 1/16 miles in 1:40.97 with regular rider Jose Ortiz.
The Brown divas were in a race of their own to the wire. Another 6 3/4 lengths adrift in third came Lady Speightspeare. Out of position after blowing the start, Lady Speightspeare got her neck in front of Scarabea, who nipped fifth-placer Navratilova. Waliyak dropped back to last of the six.
“She’s easy to ride,” Ortiz said of Regal Glory. “She’s a little funny with her mouth, but I just let her be alone and let her be her. I don’t try to put her forward all the time, don’t fight her. I think we’ve got her figured out now with the help of Chad. He has her in great form. I think she’s the best mare in the division right now, and we’ll try to keep winning, hopefully.
“She’s getting older, and she’s had a lot of seasoning. She loves this kind of ground, and Chad has done an amazing job. He’s been patient with her, and she’s really nice.”
Brown was quick to credit Ortiz for his role in her development.
“Jose was being very modest there (saying she’s easy to ride),” the trainer offered. “She’s a tricky horse to ride, and he deserves a lot of credit. He showed her versatility. He’s adapted to a lot of situations out of the gate with her.
“She’s extremely competitive. She knows where that wire is, and with Shantisara – that’s a real horse running at her. For (Regal Glory) to hold her off and to show she can get a mile and a sixteenth twice now. It looks like she could even go a little bit farther.”
Regal Glory’s resume reads 18-11-4-0, $1,836,009. Ten of those victories came in stakes, including the 2019 Lake Placid (G2) (in a dead-heat with Varenka), Lake George (G3), and Penn Oaks as well as the 2020 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3) for original owner/breeder Paul Pompa. Regal Glory was offered as part of Pompa’s estate dispersal at Keeneland January in 2021, when Brown’s White Birch Farm purchased her for $925,000. She added a pair of listed wins in last year’s Plenty of Grace S. and De La Rose S., and missed narrowly to stablemate Blowout in the First Lady (G1), before her Matriarch coup.
Out of the Grade 2-winning More Than Ready mare Mary’s Follies, Regal Glory is a half-sister to Japanese dirt notable Cafe Pharoah, now a two-time hero of the February (G1) at Tokyo.