Lovely Regalo is first winner for Darby Dan Farm’s Higher Power

Two-year-old colt Lovely Regalo became the first winner for Darby Dan Farm’s Grade 1 winner Higher Power on Thursday, July 4, winning a five-furlong maiden special weight at Belterra Park.

Owned and trained by Rey Hernandez, Lovely Regalo broke alertly under jockey Albin Jimenez and shot to the front in a matter of strides. He shook loose from his rivals at the head of the lane and won going away by 2 ¼ lengths as the race favorite. He stopped the clock in 1:00.69 over a sloppy track.

A graduate of the 2023 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Yearling Sale, Lovely Regalo is the first foal out of the unraced Mineshaft mare Lovely Gift, a half-sister to stakes winner and graded stakes-placed Bump Start. Lovely Regalo was bred in Kentucky by TK Stables LLC.

Higher Power, a millionaire by elite sire Medaglia d’Oro, was a dominant 5 ¼-length winner of the 2019 Pacific Classic (G1) at Del Mar. Owned by Hronis Racing and trained by John Sadler, Higher Power recorded a career-best 107 Beyer in the scintillating Pacific Classic victory, defeating a contentious field that included three Grade 1 winners. A five-time winner of more than $1.5 million, Higher Power was a gem of consistency. He competed exclusively in top company since his Pacific Classic score, placing in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), Hollywood Gold Cup (G1), Awesome Again S. (G1), and San Diego H. (G2).

While his greatest success has come at the Classic distance of 1 ¼ miles, Higher Power was precocious. He broke his maiden at two for trainer Donnie Von Hemel and owner-breeder Pin Oak Stable and won his 3-year-old debut at Oaklawn Park, defeating subsequent Graded stakes winner New York Central.

Purchased by David Ingordo on behalf of Hronis Racing for $250,000 from the 2019 Keeneland April Sale Horses of Racing Age session, Higher Power is produced from the multiple stakes-winning Seattle Slew mare Alternate, who is also the dam of multiple Graded stakes winner Alternation, winner of the Peter Pan S. (G2) and Oaklawn H. (G2), and sire of 2019 Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Serengeti Empress. Alternate is also a half-sister to 1995 Canadian Horse of the Year and multiple Grade 1 winner Peaks and Valleys, from the female family of Grade 1 winner Mucho Gusto.

In the auction ring this year, Higher Power has been represented by first 2-year-olds of $125,000 at the OBS Spring Sale and $120,000 at the recent OBS June Sale. For more information on Higher Power, contact Darby Dan Farm’s Stallion Director Stuart Fitzgibbon at (859) 621-6763 or by email at [email protected], or visit