The 6-year-old daughter of Animal Kingdom returns to the seaside oval Sunday with a couple more Grade 1s in her pocket as she defends her crown against nine other rivals in the one mile turf race.
Since that win last year, Regal Glory has added two more grade 1 victories to her resume. In fact she put together a string of four straight wins starting with the Matriarch. She kicked off her 2022 campaign with a win in the Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G3) at Gulfstream Park in January, followed by back-to-back grade 1 wins in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland, and the Just A Game at Belmont Park.
Trainer Chad Brown then threw her in against the boys in the Fourstardave (G1) at Saratoga and she gave a good account of herself, finishing second to Casa Creed.
“She’s really come on with age,” Brown says. “She’s gotten better which you love to see with your racehorses. They don’t all do that. She’s everything you can ask for from a trainer’s point of view.”
Regal Glory has been in Brown’s barn since 2018.
“I’ve had her since she was a 2-year-old,” he says. “She’s 6 right now. She was sent to me originally by her breeder, Paul Pompa, Jr. He passed away a couple of years ago and Peter Brandt ended up buying the filly and kept her in training with me and she’s had a wonderful career.”
The numbers tell the story. This year she has compiled a 6: 3-2-0 record and $1,134,250 in earnings. For her career, she is 22: 12-6-0 with earnings of $2,379,134.
She has Eclipse Award credentials, but Brown didn’t bring her out to Del Mar to try seal the vote with a win. He says he’s simply here to win the last grade one grass race of the year.
“It fits in the calendar nicely,” he says. “There are no other turf options and she won the race last year.”
In fact, Brown believes another horse in his stable may eventually win the Eclipse for top female grass horse.
“I’d say right now her stablemate, In Italian, would be the leader in that division, from her body of work,” notes Brown. “So potentially, if she (Regal Glory) wins this race she could enter the conversation.”
Admittedly, Regal Glory’s Breeders’ Cup performance didn’t help sway any voters.
“She didn’t have a great trip there,” Brown says of her 10th-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. “She was wide. It wasn’t a trip that was going to work out for her. We’re just going to draw a line through it and hopefully she saves a little ground this time around.”
The Matriarch will be Regal Glory’s finale. Brown says she will be retired after the race.
Also making the trip out to Del Mar for Brown for the Matriarch is Dolce Zel, winner of the Lake George (G3) at Saratoga this summer.
“Only a 3-year old filly,” Brown says, “stepping up against older horses for the first time. She has a tricky draw, a little outside but she seems to be training really well, so we’ll see.”
Brown has won four of the last five runnings of the Matriarch, which was first run at Hollywood Park in 1981. It goes off as the seventh race on the nine-race closing day card. First post is 3:30 p.m. EST).