The $300,000 Matriarch has a field of 14 fillies and mares going one mile. The morning line favorite is Filimbi at 7-2.
According to the TimeformUS Pace Projector, the leader at the opening half-mile will be Curlin’s Fox. She is followed by Baruta, Crowley’s Law, and Gender Agenda.
The fastest TimeformUS Late Pace rating, a 122, belongs to Queen of the Sand.
In a race that shapes up to be very competitive, we are going to make Recepta our selection.
Trained by James Toner, this four-year-old filly enters off a dull performance, at 49-1, on wet turf against the boys in the BC Mile, a race that received a Race Rating of 130—eight points higher than the preliminary Race Rating for the Matriarch. We have a forgiving attitude toward that performance, and we were very impressed with Recepta’s race leading up to it. In the Grade 3 Noble Damsel at Belmont in September, she made a wide move into a strong pace and overpowered the field, earning a speed figure of 122. That performance was against a field that received a Race Rating of 119 (three points lower than today’s), and it was visually impressive. Her speed figure from that race leaves her only one point shy of likely favorite Falimbi’s lifetime best. Recepta has been training regularly since that race. She drew a good post. She has a strong record at this distance. Pace Projector shows her in the front portion of the field early. She’s a nice price (8-1) on the morning line. In a race in which we could have landed in any of eight or nine places, this is where we landed.
Of the many horses that we fear, we fear Filimbi most. She enters off an allowance prep (run off the layoff) in which she was choked by a slow pace. Still, she found room on the rail and got up for the win, at a minuscule price. She paired her lifetime top speed figure of 123 for that performance. She is proven at the Grade 1 level. Bill Mott gets a strong 94 rating going second off the layoff. Filimbi has plenty in her favor, though her price will not be all that exciting.
Christophe Clement’s Hard Not to Like is another obvious contender. 8 for 18 lifetime on grass, she lacks showy speed figures, but she has three Grade 1 wins to her credit. Although Clement does not have a strong trainer rating on this circuit, his decision to ship here for this race probably says something worth listening to. We expect a better performance from her than we saw on her most recent ship to California.
A longshot whom we find intriguing is Prize Exhibit. Her trip to Keeneland in October started looking like a bad idea shortly after the gate opened. Never happy, she started throwing her head around and generally looked as if she would rather be someplace else—anywhere else. Show leniency toward that dull effort and one is left with a three-year-old filly who has competitive speed figures, a strong record at the distance, a sparkling closing kick when at her best, and a fat price on the morning line.
Crowley’s Law and Olorda round out our list of the top contenders in this deep field.
Win bet on Recepta. Use both Prize Exhibit and Recepta in multi-race wagers and underneath in exotics.