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Regal Glory wins Matriarch Stakes on Del Mar’s closing day

Regal Glory, a brilliant 6-year-old Animal Kingdom mare from the Chad Brown stable, showed a flair for the dramatic Sunday as Del Mar closed up shop on its Bing Crosby fall meet.

Fourth up the backside in the eight-horse field, Regal Glory, the 3-5 favorite, uncorked a powerful closing kick in the stretch to win the $400,000 Grade I Matriarch Stakes by 5 1/4 lengths under Flavien Prat, who won six races Sunday to come from behind and defeat Juan Hernandez for the riding title, 24-20.

It was Regal Glory’s second consecutive victory in the Matriarch and Brown’s fifth overall. Final time for the 1 mile on the turf was 1:33.60 — second fastest clocking since the race was moved to Del Mar nine years ago.

The Philip D’Amato-trained Hamwood Flier, the 3-1 second choice ridden by Mike Smith, opened an eight-length leaded up the backstretch through splits of 23.58, 46.12 and 1:09.81 before fading to fourth in the race for fillies and mares.

England’s Rose, a 17-1 longshot, finished second, a nose in front of 13-1 outsider Pizza Bianca.

“I had great respect for Mike’s (filly), but there was nothing I could do about it then,” Prat 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.”

For Regal Glory, it was the final race of a 23-race career that saw her win 13 times for $2,619,134 in earnings. She won last year’s Matriarch by 2 1/4 lengths with Jose Ortiz in the saddle.

“She broke a little slow and (Prat) tried to relax her on the backside, but I don’t worry about it,” said Brown assistant Jose Hernandez. “Those kind of fillies just kick off and it was amazing. We’re going to miss her. We’ve had a lot of nice moments, a lot of nice races.”

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