With Lexie Lou scratching from this spot to go instead in the Hollywood Derby on Saturday, we are left with a field of seven for the Grade 1, $300,000 Matriarch, which will be run at a mile on the grass. The favorite on the morning line, at 5-2, is the shipper La Tia, but five horses are 9-2 or lower.
According to the TimeformUS Pace Projector, the pace of the Matriarch will be neither fast nor slow, and the early leader (no surprise) will be La Tia. Discreet Marq and Gender Agenda are shown in stalking positions just behind La Tia, followed by Sheza Smoke Show. The others can be considered mid-packers and closers in this field.
#5 Discreet Marq hits hard in the Matriarch on TimeformUS Speed Figures.
Here is the field in post position order, with morning line odds in parentheses:
Queen of The Sand (9-2): Visually impressive in winning the ungraded Kathryn Crosby. Had the benefit of fast paces (note pace figures and fractions color-coded in red) in her two previous starts. Her speed figures are not out of place in this field. But she’ll be coming from the back of the pack in a race that may not be conducive to such tactics. We like this filly a lot. We look for her to run her best race today. Will that be enough for a victory? Unfortunately, if the others run their best, it probably won’t be–and she doesn’t figure to be a huge price.
Strathnaver (4-1): She is a nose away from being a Grade 1 winner. Suspect she might want to run a little farther at this point in her career. A rock-solid fit on speed figures, with her last three numbers being 105 or 106, she figures to be coming from near the back of the pack. Exits a race that earned a Race Rating of 110, which means she exits the strongest race. And she was not disgraced by her third-place finish (placed 2nd via DQ). An obvious contender.
La Tia (5-2): Frontrunning mare figures to take them as far as she can. Held on to win a Grade 3 on yielding Belmont turf in her last start, earning a speed figure of 104. We do not like the fact that this five-year-old has not gotten back to the best races she ran as a four-year-old. Trainer is unproven shipping to California. Her best recent figures are competitive but slightly inferior to Discreet Marq’s. At the ML odds, she looks like an underlay to us.
Kadaya (20-1): Has won off a lengthy layoff, but she is much too slow, and she is too old for us to expect a big turnaround off this layoff. Pass.
Discreet Marq (7-2): Won the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in 2013. 15 trifecta finishes from 18 starts on turf, seven of them wins. Ordinarily a gem of consistency in terms of speed figures, she recorded a relatively dull 98 last time while beating NY-breds on good turf at Belmont. This is the kind of “dull” effort we are very quick to forgive: a slow speed figure in an easy victory that is followed by a return to Grade 1 competition. Discreet Marq has the best speed figures in the field. She is the most accomplished horse in the field. Her trainer, Christophe Clement, gets a 93 rating off this sort of spacing. We feel Discreet Marq deserves to be favored in here.
Gender Agenda (15-1): Ran a lifetime top figure of 101 while no match for Queen of The Sand in the Kathryn Crosby. Talamo will be aboard, as he was for her lone victory in the United States. Trainer Carla Gaines gets a strong 91 rating with Talamo. But Gender Agenda’s Euro figures do not give us a lot of hope that she will have the required improvement in her today as she makes her fourth start in the United States and fourth start off the layoff.
Sheza Smoke Show (20-1): No match for Lexie Lou in the Grade 3 Autumn Miss. That race received a Race Rating of 101. The Matriarch receives a preliminary Race Rating of 106. Ran a lifetime top speed figure of 102 in defeat. Could well lose some ground from this post, and it figures to be ground she cannot afford to lose. In tough.
Win bet on Discreet Marq.