Classic Empire Paddock

Royal Poppy Catches Eye for Classic Empire In New York

Royal Poppy (2f Classic Empire x M’Dearest, by Macho Uno) was an impressive Maiden Special Weight winner at Aqueduct on Thursday with a gate-to-wire victory.

Racing over six furlongs on the dirt, Royal Poppy immediately went to the lead and kept a length between her and the rest of the field early on. Jockey Dylan Davis started asking her for effort as they raced toward the quarter pole and she easily built her margin down the stretch to win by six lengths in the end.

Trained by Raymond Handal for Adelphi Racing Club, Pavilion Racing, Zilla Racing Stables, and Surrey Lane Stables, Royal Poppy has won nearly $100,000 during her juvenile campaign with only one off-the-board finish in that time.

A $170,000 2-year-old purchase earlier this year, the Orlyana Farm-bred filly is out of the winning M’Dearest, the dam of two winners from two to race. M’Dearest is a half-sister to Fusachi Pegasus’s multiple Grade I placed Riveting Reason and the stakes placed Bang Bang Bang.

The sire of 74 winners – fourth best of any second crop stallion – his 13 2-year-old winners this year ties him with stallions such as American Pharoah, Quality Road, and Speightstown.