One of the headline attractions of Del Mar’s Bing Crosby Meet’s Turf Festival is the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes. And the Matriarch being a top-tier turf race, you know Chad Brown’s training handiwork can’t be far behind.
Brown owns three Eclipse Awards as the country’s top trainer. And he owns those primarily because the grass is often greener with his horses traipsing across it. In Sunday’s $300,000 Matriarch, Brown sends three Eastern shippers a mile across Del Mar’s Jimmy Durante Turf Course in pursuit of his third Matriarch title in four years. He won the event in 2017 with Off Limits and in 2018 with Uni.
The Matriarch’s field of fillies and mares is among the weekend’s deepest in any race. Eight of the nine fillies own stakes victories. Six of those come off a trip to a stakes winner’s circle. Two have a Grade 1 title on their resume and three others own Grade 1 placings.
In other words, this is where you’d expect to find Brown. When he ships horses west, he does so with purpose. He’s won nine stakes races at Del Mar – seven of those Grade 1s. For ready reference, look no further than Thursday’s Grade 3 Red Carpet Stakes, which Brown’s Orglandes rolled up and won.
Brown Leaving Everything on the Turf, Nothing to Chance
Brown’s Matriarch armada includes stakes winners Blowout, Viadera and Tamahere. It also includes three of the country’s best jockeys in Flavien Prat (Blowout), Joel Rosario (Viadera) and Irad Ortiz Jr. (Tamahere). Rosario and Ortiz come in from New York to ride this weekend.
Did we say Brown was serious here?
Viadera, your 7/2 favorite, and Blowout (4/1) roll into Del Mar off a 1-2 finish in the Grade 3 Noble Damsel Stakes at Belmont Park Sept. 26. Viadera’s neck win in the mile race came in a sizzling 1:32.06, bringing Viadera her second victory in three 2020 races. Her 113 Equibase Speed Figure from that race is faster than everyone else in the field, save Juliet Foxtrot (4/1).
Morning Line (Jockey)
- Mucho Unusual, 10/1 (Abel Cedillo)
- Maxim Rate, 8/1 (Umberto Rispoli)
- Sharing, 5/1 (Manny Franco)
- Blowout, 4/1 (Flavien Prat)
- Juliet Foxtrot, 4/1 (Mike Smith)
- Viadera, 7/2 (Joel Rosario)
- She’s Our Charm, 30/1 (Juan Hernandez)
- Bodhicitta, 12/1 (Ricky Gonzalez)
- Tamahere, 4/1 (Irad Ortiz Jr.)
As for Juliet Foxtrot, the 5-year-old mare finished third in this race last year with a 114 Equibase –faster than anyone else in the field. She’s coming off a victory in the Grade 3 Gallorette Stakes at Pimlico, but is one of the most inconsistent entries in the field. Her 2020 resume includes that victory, a third in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley – and a fourth and sixth in graded stakes.
Could the Matriarch Be Blowout’s First Graded Stakes Win?
Blowout, meanwhile, enters only her third race of the year. She has two seconds: the aforementioned Noble Damsel and an allowance optional claiming at Saratoga in August. Both times, Blowout clocked strong Equibases: 112 and 111 respectively. Blowout hasn’t missed the board in 10 career starts: three wins, six seconds and a third. But winning a graded stakes remains out of reach.
The same can’t be said for Tamahere (4/1). The French-bred filly comes off a two-length victory in her first American race: the Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes at Belmont Park. En route, she showed patience, considering she was in sixth at the ¾-mile mark. The 90 Equibase brought Tamahere her second consecutive victory, but remains more than a few ticks behind her stablemates.
Chances are, if one of Brown’s trio doesn’t find the winner’s circle, Graham Motion’s Sharing (5/1) will. One of the country’s top 3-year-old turf fillies, Sharing won five of her last six races. Her latest victory was the Grade 2 Edgewood at Churchill Downs on the Kentucky Oaks undercard.
Sharing Brings Her Powerful Resume West
The 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner, Sharing’s only loss this year was a gutsy runner-up in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. The daughter of Speightstown returns after a bruised heel kept her out of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland. And she returns with one of the strongest resumes in the field: five wins, a second and a third in seven starts.
With $1.038 million in earnings, Sharing is the only millionaire in the field. Her purse earnings comprise almost a third of the field’s $3.3 million in earnings.
The Pick: Sharing. At 5/1, this screams value from a horse who knows what it takes to win against top competition. The only question: can she up her speed to take on Juliet Foxtrot and Viadera at their best?