East Coast Invaders Headline Matriarch on Del Mar’s Closing Day
By Jordan Sigmon
In 34 runnings of the Matriarch Stakes (GIT) so far, only eight 3-year-old fillies have defeated their elders and this year a mere three have shown up in an attempt to accomplish that task. Among them is one of the two favorites, Time and Motion, who is also one of only two North American grade 1 winners in the field (the other being Miss Temple City.)
Although she was grade 3-placed last year at age two, Time and Motion, who is trained by Jimmy Toner and owned by the Phillips Racing Partnership, didn’t break her maiden until March of this year. That winning effort was followed up by wins in the listed Memories of Silver Stakes and the listed Wonder Again Stakes. After her first two stakes wins, Time and Motion stepped up to the top level and earned a nice runner-up finish in the Belmont Oaks Invitational (GIT) to Canadian champion Catch a Glimpse, who was undefeated on the grass at the time. In her next start at Saratoga, Time and Motion got her revenge with a neck score in the Lake Placid (GIIT) over Catch a Glimpse, who was the 3-5 favorite. The pair would face off one more time in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (GIT) at Keeneland, and again Time and Motion came out with the win with Catch a Glimpse 10 ¾ lengths behind her in 7th. The Tapit filly’s connections opted to skip the Breeders’ Cup this year and instead point to this race and the American Oaks (GIT) on December 31st.
Miss Temple City, trained by Graham Motion and owned by The Club Racing LLC, Allen Rosenblum and Sagamore Farm, is a dual grade one winner with both of those marquee wins coming against males at Keeneland. Most recently 5th beaten 2 ¼ lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (GIT), Miss Temple City’s two grade one wins came in the Shadwell Turf Mile (GIT) and the Maker’s 46 Mile (GIT). Her 2016 campaign also included a trip to Royal Ascot where she was fourth behind Usherette, Furia Cruzida and Always Smile in the Duke of Cambridge Stakes (GIIT). The daughter of Temple City has had just one work since the Breeders’ Cup, a five-furlong breeze over the Del Mar turf course in 1:02 ⅖ a few days ago.
The last three contenders shipping in from the East Coast all hail from the barn of leading trainer Chad Brown. The Goldikova Stakes (GIIT) winner Zindaya is back for another crack at Southern California success for owners Five Racing Thoroughbreds. Juddmonte Farms’ French group 3 winner Mexican Gold will be making her third start in the U.S. after an allowance win at Saratoga and a third behind stablemate Roca Rojo in the Athenia Stakes (GIIIT) at Belmont last out. The final runner in the race for Brown is Roca Rojo for Sheep Pond Partners, Newport Stables LLC, and Bradley Thoroughbreds. Undefeated in her first three starts, Roca Rojo’s only loss came in the listed De La Rose Stakes at Saratoga when fourth beaten graded winners Lady Lara, Stormy Victoria, and Zindaya beaten 2 1/4 lengths.
Likely to be the lowest priced Southern Californian entrant is Jungle Racing LLC, LNJ Foxwoods, and KMN Racing LLC’s 3-year-old filly Stays in Vegas for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. A four-time stakes winner at age two, her lone graded stakes win came in the Senorita Stakes (GIIIT) at Santa Anita in May. In her most recent start, the daughter of City Zip was sixth beaten 5 ¾ lengths in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (GIT) at Keeneland. The final three-year-old entered in the race is Keith Desormeaux’s Decked Out for owners Gene Voss, Big Chief Racing LLC and Head of Plains Partners LLC. The daughter of Street Boss trailed throughout last out in the Rodeo Drive (GIT) going a distance that is likely a touch too far for her. Her winning effort in the Providencia Stakes (GIIIT) back in April puts her right up there with the rest of the field.
There are two South American imports running in Kitcat and Sobradora Inc. The latter was an undefeated dual group one winner in her native Argentina but has yet to hit the board in a North American Graded Stakes. She is owned by Katsumi Yoshida of the Japanese racing and breeding dynasty and trained by Simon Callaghan. The Chilean filly Kitcat, owned by Stud Vendaval Inc. and trained by Juan Silva, was also a dual group one winner in her home country and was most recently 12th in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (GIT).
Rounding out the field are Nancy From Nairobi, Prize Exhibit and Tiz a Kiss. Owned by Hronis Racing LLC and trained by John Sadler, Nancy From Nairobi took the Royal Heroine Stakes (GIIT) in May but has yet to finish better than third in four starts since. Prize Exhibit is a three-time graded winner but has not hit the board in graded stakes competition since taking the Monrovia Stake (GIIT) in January for owners D.P. Racing and trainer Jim Cassidy. The only horse in the field to have not won a stakes is Richard Baltas’ Tiz a Kiss for owner Cicero Farm LLC. The filly was was most recently second in the Goldikova Stakes (GIIT).
The Matriarch (GIT) is carded as the 7th race at Del Mar with an approximate post time of 6:30 pm EST.