Graham Motion at Keeneland after Spenderella won the Appalachian. (Keeneland Photo)
NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Jacques Dupuis, Jr. and Luke Bourque’s Regal Kingdom will make his first start for trainer Graham Motion in Saturday’s $100,000 Woodhaven at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Previously conditioned by Ron Faucheux, who recently left training to become a jockey’s agent, the Louisiana-bred Regal Kingdom enters the one-mile turf test for sophomores off a pair of grass triumphs at Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots.
After a fourth-out graduation against fellow state-breds going the Woodhaven distance on February 23 at the New Orleans oval, Regal Kingdom covered the same amount of ground to defeat elder winners on March 26 while garnering a 69 Beyer Speed Figure.
Since arriving at Motion’s primary division at Fair Hill Training Center in Elkton, Maryland, Regal Kingdom has recorded one work going an easy half-mile in 50.60 seconds over the all-weather surface last Saturday.
“He’s very classy and a very straightforward horse to be around,” Motion said. “We haven’t done a whole lot with him. We gave him an easy breeze over the weekend which he seemed to handle well. This race will be a big step for him, but having won a couple of races now, there aren’t as many options other than running in a stake.”
Motion also campaigned Regal Kingdom’s sire, Animal Kingdom, who won the 2011 Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and 2013 Group 1 Dubai World Cup, and also produced 2022 Champion Female Turf Horse Regal Glory. He described Regal Kingdom as “very typical” of Animal Kingdom’s progeny.
“He has a similar look about him, maybe been a little more refined,” Motion said. “He’s also a 3-year-old, so he’s got a ways to go. He still has some growing up to do. He has a very similar good attitude and good disposition as Animal Kingdom had.”
Bred in the Pelican State by Clear Creek Stud and Warren Harang, Regal Kingdom is out of the Meadowlake mare Starinthemeadow, who produced dual Grade 1-winner Weemissfrankie. He was a $20,000 acquisition at the 2021 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Junior Alvarado, who piloted 2017 Woodhaven winner Secretary of War, will pick up the mount aboard Regal Kingdom from post 1.
After saddling last year’s winner Unanimous Consent to a Woodhaven score, four-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Chad Brown will send out Neural Network [post 6, Manny Franco] and Belouni [post 4, Jose Ortiz].
Klaravich Stables’ Neural Network, by Cloud Computing, will make his turf debut following a victory against fellow New York-breds in the one-turn mile Gander on February 25 over the local main track. He was elevated to victory following the disqualification of Maker’s Candy, who was taken down after impeding Neural Network’s outside stretch bid.
A two-time winner from three starts, Neural Network was a five-length debut winner against state-breds on November 13 at the Big A before finishing fourth in the January 7 Jerome against open company. Bred in the Empire State by Milfer Farm, Neural Network is out of the Street Cry mare Lapinski, who is a half-sister to stakes winner Sunset Wish and was bought for $120,000 at the 2021 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale.
Belouni will seek to make amends following a seventh-place finish in Gulfstream Park’s Colonel Liam on March 4. The French-bred Fast Company colt was a two-time winner in his native country at seven furlongs and one mile, respectively. He is owned by Michael Dubb, Michael E. Kisber, Madaket Stables and Bill Rucker.
Stakes-placed Inflation Nation will make his 2023 debut, arriving off a third in the six-furlong Atlantic Beach on November 5 at the Big A for trainer Christophe Clement.
Owned by Louis Lazzinnaro and Michael Dubb, the son of Speightstown was a half-length winner at second asking in September at Saratoga Race Course before finishing a narrow fourth in the Grade 3 Futurity the following month at Belmont at the Big A, earning a field best 82 Beyer.
Inflation Nation is out of the Galileo mare Urban Ball, who is a half-sister to Grade 1-winner and producer Perfect Soul.
Dylan Davis, the pilot in 3-of-4 starts for Inflation Nation, will retain the mount from post 5.
Completing the field are Calumet Farm’s stakes-placed Winters Lion [post 2, Kendrick Carmouche] for trainer Joe Sharp, and Cedar Meadow’s Penn National maiden winner High Strike [post 3, Jackie Davis] who makes his debut for trainer Chris Englehart.
The Woodhaven is carded as Race 3 on Saturday’s nine-race program which also features the $200,000 NYSSS Times Square in Race 8. First post is 1:20 p.m. Eastern.