Neither the competition nor the weather could slow Regal Glory in the $500,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes (G3T) Sept. 12 at Kentucky Downs.
Facing six foes over a yielding course hit by a mid-afternoon downpour, the 4-year-old Animal Kingdom filly ran down a stubborn leader in Mitchell Road to notch a neck victory, her first win in three starts this year.
Confidently handled into midstretch by Jose Ortiz, the Paul Pompa homebred moved out of her pace-chasing position to catch the leader in the race’s final stages to complete a mile in 1:34.34. She paid $4.80 as the favorite.
Mitchell Road, a half sister to 2019 Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) winner Country House, set an uncontested pace with fractions of :23.42, :47.19, and 1:11.26. She finished a clear second, 1 1/2 lengths in front of third-place Tapit Today, Regal Glory’s stablemate.
Lady Apple, Secret Message, Frond, and Princess Causeway rounded out the order of finish. English Affair was scratched.
Chad Brown trains Regal Glory, as he does Tapit Today.
“That was definitely a hard-fought stretch victory when it looked like our filly was poised to just take them easily,” said Brown assistant Whit Beckman. “But you’ve got to give it to Mitchell Road. She ran a heck of a race.
“(Regal Glory) was definitely getting a little class relief coming down here, but it’s always an X factor with the set-up and everything. She ran a tremendous race. I mean she looked like the winner every step of the way to me.”
Regal Glory had no difficulty with the yielding turf. Earlier in her career she had captured three stakes on wet ground, including the Penn Oaks and Lake Placid Stakes (G2T). The latter victory came in a dead heat with Varenka.
“She handled the course really well. I knew she could handle the soft turf, since she’s already won on it twice, so I was very confident going into the race,” said Ortiz.
Regal Glory notched her sixth victory in 11 starts in taking the Ladies Turf and increased her earnings to $773,884. The Kentucky-bred is out of the grade 2-winning More Than Ready mare Mary’s Follies, making her a half sister to grade 3 winner Night Prowler and Cafe Pharoah, a grade 3 winner in Japan.
Animal Kingdom, relocated to stand in Japan for the 2020 breeding season, won on turf, synthetic, and dirt—scoring his most memorable victory in the 2011 Kentucky Derby. He stood at Darley in Kentucky from 2014-19.
Video: Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf S. (G3T)
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