Regally Irish prevails in the Bridgetown
by Keith McCalmont
Isabelle de Tomaso's homebred Regally Irish arrived in the final stride to collar pacesetting Skole in Saturday' $100,000 Bridgetown, a six-furlong turf sprint for sophomores at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Trained by Graham Motion and patiently handled by Rajiv Maragh, Regally Irish settled along the rail in third position as Skole, under moderate pressure from Skychief, led the five-horse field through a quarter-mile in 22.39 seconds on a yielding outer turf course.
Skole maintained his narrow advantage late in the turn, marking the half-mile in 45.32, with Skychief continuing to pester and Mount Travers rallying wide into third as Maragh asked Regally Irish to find his way into the race.
The pacesetter stayed on strong through the lane as Skychief faltered but he could not hold off an enlivened late bid from Regally Irish, who angled off the rail inside of Mount Travers and found the wire a neck in front of Skole. Regally Irish notched his first stakes score in a final running time of 1:10.28.
Mount Travers, Skychief and Wonder Stone completed the order of finish. Majid was scratched.
Maragh said he impressed with the young colt's strong stretch kick.
"He settled nice off the speed and came up with a powerful run," he said. "I just wanted him to get comfortable early, whether it's up close or behind. He doesn't have a set style, so it gives you a lot of options. The way the race unfolded, I felt like we were tracking in a good spot. I was just hoping he kicked in, and he sure did."
The victory marked Maragh's first stakes win since capturing the Grade 3 Gotham with Kentucky Derby-bound Haikal on March 9 at the Big A. The veteran rider was pleased to see the Bridgetown stay on the grass following significant rainfall in the metropolitan New York area.
"The ground was pretty good considering how much rain we got. This is the best turf course we have around here," said Maragh. "It's probably one of the best turf courses in the country, so it's always fun to ride on it. It's nice that it can take so much water and still stay together."
Regally Irish, a chestnut son of Regal Ransom, arrived at the Bridgetown from a frontrunning score in an optional claiming event on January 11 over the Tampa Bay Downs turf.
Adrian Rolls, assistant to Motion, said he was pleased with the effort from the young and improving colt.
"That was good. He ran well down at Tampa. We weren't sure it would be on the grass because of the rain, so it was nice that they kept it on," said Rolls. "When he got running, Rajiv said he really sprinted away from them. He appeared to be happy with him. We'll have to see how he comes out of this race [before deciding a next start]."
The well-bred colt's second dam, Irish Sovereign, produced 2017 Wood Memorial victor Irish War Cry, as well as graded stakes winner Irish Strait.
Bred in New Jersey by his owner, Regally Irish banked $55,000 in victory while improving his record to 3-1-1 from seven starts. Sent to post as the 8-5 mutuel favorite, Regally Irish returned $5.40 for a $2 win ticket.
Live racing resumes on Sunday at the Big A with a nine-race card highlighted by the $100,000 Plenty of Grace in Race 3 and the $100,000 Mizdirection in Race 8. First post is 1:30 p.m.