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Regal Glory ROLLS To Another Huge Score | 2022 Just A Game Stakes Replay & Reaction
NYRA / Janet Garaguso

Regal Glory ROLLS To Another Huge Score | 2022 Just A Game Stakes Replay & Reaction

The Racing Dudes react to Regal Glory winning the 2022 Just A Game Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park in another huge score for trainer Chad Brown. JOIN the replay watch-along to get the Racing Dudes’ INSTANT reactions, then give YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The track press release:

Trainer Chad Brown had three chances to win a record-extending fifth Grade 1 Longines Just a Game as he sent out a trio of Peter Brant-owned mares in the one-mile turf test for older fillies and mares named for the mare Brant campaigned to Champion Grass Mare honors in 1980.

European import Speak of the Devil was the favorite to visit the winner’s circle on Saturday, but it was the evergreen 6-year-old Regal Glory who rose to the occasion in the $500,000 affair over the Widener turf course at Belmont Park.

“Many years ago, I campaigned Just a Game and she was a great mare who put a large string of victories together and was a great champion,” said Brant. “To have this race named after her is a great pleasure and now to win the race is very, very special.”

Brown shared Brant’s sentiments about the importance of winning a Just a Game together.

“The first day I met him and I saw the trophy at his house and it was from Just a Game – it was the first thing I noticed,” said Brown. “We had a conversation about it, and I said this is the one race I’m going to win for you one day. We got to talking about it this week. It’s meant a lot to him, this race.”

Regal Glory has proven to her connections that they made the right decision to keep her in training this year as she picked up her second Grade 1 in three perfect starts this year that began with a resounding performance in the Grade 3 Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf in January at Gulfstream Park. She followed with a sparkling performance in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley in April at Keeneland ahead of the Just a Game.

“She was headed to the breeding shed at the end of last year,” said Brown. “I told Mr. Brant, ‘There’s this Pegasus race, let’s just send her down to Florida, run her, then breed her.’ At first, it was my idea to run her there and then breed her. But then when she won, it was his idea to keep going.”

Regal Glory was expertly piloted by regular rider Jose Ortiz from post 2 and patiently allowed longshot Leggs Galore take command under Ricardo Gonzalez from the inside post with stablemate In Italian with Irad Ortiz, Jr. up pressing to her outside. Speak of the Devil’s chances were compromised at the start when she missed the break under returning rider Flavien Prat and trailed in last-of-5 as Leggs Galore set scorching fractions of 22.25 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 45.53 for the half-mile over the firm turf.

Leggs Galore and In Italian continued to duel five lengths in front of Regal Glory entering the turn before the pacesetter came under a ride from Gonzalez. In Italian quickly took over with urging from Ortiz, Jr., but was soon met with a challenge from Regal Glory, who loomed to her outside and made up ground with large strides down the center of the racetrack.

Ortiz gave a strong ride to Regal Glory and had plenty of horse under him to make the lead and hold off a late rally from Wakanaka with Joel Rosario in the irons as they overtook second from In Italian in the final strides. Regal Glory stopped the clock in 1:32 flat, just .77 seconds off the track record set by Oscar Performance in 2018. Wakanaka finished another 3 1/2 lengths back with In Italian checking in 1 1/4 lengths behind her.

Speak of the Devil and Leggs Galore completed the order of finish.

Brown said there was no doubt in his mind Regal Glory would handle her first start around one turn this year.

“I was never concerned,” said Brown. “I knew she likes Belmont and she’s a versatile horse, especially when there’s some pace in front of her.”
Brown attributes Regal Glory’s continuous good form to her team and owner.

“My team working with her, her maturity; Mr. Brant making the call to race her this year was a brilliant move,” Brown said. “It was really one of those situations where she’s in her prime right now and some horses catch their peak window at different ages. For this horse, it’s been at age 6.”

Ortiz, who has been aboard the bay mare for the past eight starts prior to the Just a Game, said he is grateful for the opportunity to ride her.

“She means a lot to me. It’s very nice to ride a mare like this and she’s getting better with age, but all the credit goes to Peter and Chad for keeping her in training,” Ortiz said. “They could have bred her. She was supposed to go to Into Mischief and they waited one more year and it’s paid off.

“I knew the one-horse was going to go to the lead but she ran very good,” Ortiz added. “I’m very happy.”

A Kentucky-bred daughter of Animal Kingdom, Regal Glory announced her presence in the female turf division with a win in the 2019 Grade 3 Lake George at Saratoga Race Course ahead of another Saratoga stakes coup in the Grade 2 Lake Placid. She picked up two more stakes wins in the 2020 in the Plenty of Grace at Aqueduct and the Grade 3 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf.
Last year, she finished fourth in this event before returning to Saratoga to take the Fasig-Tipton De La Rose. Regal Glory closed out her 2021 campaign with a 2 1/2-length victory in the Grade 1 Matriarch, which began a four-race winning streak that includes her three victories this year.

Brown said a return to Saratoga is likely for Regal Glory with the Grade 1, $500,000 Fourstardave against males on August 13 as the main objective.

Bred by Paul P. Pompa, Regal Glory returned $4.80 for a $2 win wager and banked $275,000 for her winning effort. She extended her record to 19-12-4-0 with total purse earnings of $2,111,009.

Joel Rosario praised Wakanaka for her determination down the lane.

“She ran well. She was coming and coming, but the winner was too tough. She ran her race and did everything I asked her to do. Too bad we couldn’t get to the winner. She ran too good.”

Barry Irwin, founder of Team Valor International and co-owner of Wakanaka, said he was pleased with the effort.

“Things went according to plan and Joel gave her the ride we’ve been looking for. She is better around one turn,” Irwin said.