February 3, 2023

Regal Glory bows out on top with stunning Matriarch repeat

Regal Glory repeats in the Matriarch on a six-win day for Flavien Prat at Del Mar (Photo © Benoit Photo)

Odds-on favorite Regal Glory put an exclamation point on her career with a devastating display in Sunday’s $401,500 Matriarch (G1). Only the second repeat winner in the race’s history, she highlighted a six-win day for jockey Flavien Prat, who wrapped up the Del Mar riding title. Prat won with his first four mounts on the closing-day card, a sequence capped by Speed Boat Beach in the $101,500 Cecil B. DeMille (G3).

Matriarch (G1)

Peter Brant’s Regal Glory turned the mile feature into a literally grand finale, and revived her case for the divisional Eclipse Award. The Chad Brown mare had incurred three straight losses, but two came versus males, including a subpar 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). By rebounding in the Matriarch, Regal Glory left the Eclipse electorate a fresh impression of her ability in the distaff turf ranks.

The 3-5 favorite was confidently handled by new pilot Prat, who settled Regal Glory in a clear fourth. As expected, 3.30-1 second choice Hamwood Flier lived up to her name by opening up a substantial early lead. Already three lengths in front passing the first quarter in :23.58 on the firm course, the speedster more than doubled that margin by the half in :46.12. Hamwood Flier had streaked eight lengths ahead through six furlongs in 1:09.81, but her stride began to shorten entering the stretch.

Regal Glory was just revving up. Overtaking the second-flight stalkers, her Brown stablemate Dolce Zel and Eddie’s New Dream, on the turn for home, the six-year-old inhaled Hamwood Flier in the stretch and rapidly opened up. Prat hand rode her to a 5 1/4-length rout in 1:33.60.

In a four-way photo for the minors, the 17.50-1 England’s Rose nipped the 13-1 Pizza Bianca for second. Pizza Bianca relegated Hamwood Flier to fourth by a head, with Avenue de France another head away in fifth. Dolce Zel, Bipartisanship, and Eddie’s New Dream completed the order of finish.

Wakanaka and Gold for Kitten were withdrawn, the former due to circumstances arising from the equine herpesvirus (EHV-1) situation at Churchill Downs. Shipping in from the Louisville track, Wakanaka tested “mildly positive” via nasal swab for EHV-1, according to Dr. Jeff Blea in a California Horse Racing Board statement. Wakanaka was not showing any signs of clinical illness, and Blea added that her viral load was so low that it might not be the neuropathogenic EHV-1. At any rate, she had to be scratched “out of an abundance of caution.”

Prat noted that he had to let Regal Glory find her own rhythm, regardless of what Hamwood Flier was doing way out in front with Mike Smith.

“I had great respect for Mike’s filly, but there was nothing I could do about it then,” the winning rider said. “My mare had to run her race. Once she got going, I knew we were going to be all right. Then she did, and we were all right.”

Regal Glory joins Hall of Famer Flawlessly as a multiple winner of the Matriarch. Flawlessly still stands alone in the record book for her three-peat at old Hollywood Park in 1991-93. Regal Glory was giving Brown his third consecutive Matriarch and fifth in the past six years, as he inches nearer his late mentor Bobby Frankel’s tally of eight wins in this race.

A homebred campaigned by Paul Pompa Jr. until his untimely passing, Regal Glory captured five stakes in his silks, most notably the 2019 Lake Placid (G2) (in a dead-heat) and Lake George (G3) and the 2020 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3). She was offered as part of his estate dispersal at Keeneland in January 2021, when another Brown client, Brant, purchased her for $925,000.

Thus the daughter of Animal Kingdom and Pompa’s Grade 2 heroine Mary’s Follies stayed with her original trainer. A Grade 1 laurel was the 2021 goal for Regal Glory, who was a troubled fourth in the Just a Game (G1) and a hard-trying second in the First Lady (G1) before accomplishing her mission in last fall’s Matriarch.

Retirement was thought to be in the cards at that stage, but Regal Glory was at her peak, and Brant preferred to keep going with her in 2022. She rewarded that decision by adding in succession the Jan. 29 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G3), Apr. 16 Jenny Wiley (G1), and June 11 Just a Game, a poignant win for Brant who also owned the race namesake. Her streak ended with a second against males in the Fourstardave H. (G1), and she was also runner-up to stablemate – and Eclipse rival – In Italian in the Oct. 8 First Lady en route to her Breeders’ Cup disappointment.

Her Matriarch repeat set things right in the end, and Regal Glory signs off with a record of 23-13-6-0, $2,619,134. Twelve of those wins came in stakes, eight of them graded, as were all six placings.

If she’s anything like her dam as a broodmare, the chestnut will produce fine runners. Mary’s Follies, a More Than Ready mare, is also responsible for Japanese dirt star Cafe Pharoah as well as Grade 3 scorer Night Prowler.

Cecil B. DeMille (G3)

Speed Boat Beach proved ready for his mile close-up in the Cecil B. DeMille. The 1.70-1 favorite always had the class, if he got the trip. Pedigree suggested that he would handle the stretch-out, and the Bob Baffert juvenile delivered.

After pressing front-running Game Time through fractions of :22.82, :47.30, and 1:12.08, Speed Boat Beach got the upper hand. But Game Time wouldn’t yield. Despite coming under pressure on the far turn, Game Time kept finding down the lane and stuck close to the favorite. Speed Boat Beach responded to the persistent challenge, holding a half-length edge at the wire in 1:35.38.

First Peace reported home another 1 3/4 lengths back in third, trailed by Ah Jeez; Ransomware, who was knocked around at the break; Ze’bul, who was shoved by Ransomware into the clubhouse turn; Fleet Feet; and Kolomio, another with an early trouble line as he was rank and checked on the rail. Lloyds Logic was scratched again, having been withdrawn from the Nov. 20 Bob Hope (G3) as well.

Pegram, Watson, and Weitman’s Speed Boat Beach was rebounding from his lone loss, a ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint (G1). A track record-setter in his 5 1/2-furlong debut on the Del Mar dirt, the dark bay took his game to turf in the Oct. 2 Speakeasy S. at Santa Anita. His surface and distance versatility open up a world of options for the colt, whose resume reads 4-3-0-0, $178,000.

Speed Boat Beach was bred by Caperlane Farm in Florida and first sold for just $12,000 as an OBS yearling. He was a pinhook success for Rubin Sanchez of Really and Truly Thoroughbreds, commanding $200,000 from his current connections at OBS in March.

By Bayern and out of the unraced Sophia Mia, a Pioneerof the Nile mare, Speed Boat Beach has Baffert alumni on both sides of his pedigree.