Better Lucky Goes For Repeat In Matriarch; Rookie Sensation Tries To Stay Hot In Derby

Racing News
Posted 11.28.13 at 11:13

Godolphin Racing's Better Lucky and Eddie Castro win the 2012 Matriarch. © Benoit Photo

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (November 28, 2013)—Better Lucky, who paid a record $72.20 when capturing the $250,000 Matriarch a year ago, will try to become only the second repeater in race history Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.

The race at one mile for older fillies and mares is part of a Grade I grass doubleheader on the final day of the Turf Festival.

In addition to the 32nd renewal of the Matriarch, the 10-race program also includes the $250,000 Hollywood Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 ¼ miles. Post time is 12:30 p.m. and track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.

The Matriarch goes as the eighth race while the Derby, which is being run for the 72nd time, is the sixth.

There is also a Fans’ Choice giveaway – one per paid admission while supplies last. Items include the 75th anniversary commemorative DVD and Betfair Hollywood Park fedoras.

The second longest shot in the field of eight in 2012, Better Lucky, a daughter of Ghostzapper and the Seeking the Gold mare Sahara Gold, won by one length over Tiz Flirtatious for trainer Tom Albertrani and Godolphin Racing LLC.

If successful Sunday, the 4-year-old, who has won five of 13 and earned $828,950, would join Flawlessly as a double Matriarch winner.

Owned and bred by Louis and Patrice Wolfson’s Harbor View Farm and trained by Charlie Whittingham, Flawlessly won the Matriarch three consecutive years (1991-1993).

Dayatthespa, who was fifth as the 17-10 favorite in last year’s Matriarch due to some self-caused trouble early in the race, is back for another shot for trainer Chad Brown, who will also be represented by Pianist.

Owned by Jerry and Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon and Bradley Thoroughbreds, Dayatthespa has won eight of 11 and banked $823,892.

In her most recent start, the 4-year-old City Zip filly out of the Doc’s Leader mare M’Lady Doc was second, a head behind Better Lucky, in the Grade I First Lady Oct. 5 at Keeneland.

Pianist, a 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready and the Red Ransom mare Red Piano, is already a three-time winner in 2013, including the Grade III Athenia Oct. 12 at Belmont Park.

Owned by Hidden Brook Farm and Dan Zucker, Pianist has won six of 13 and has a bankroll of $498,450.

Discreet Marq will be shooting for her second Grade I win of the year in California after taking the Del Mar Oaks Aug. 17 in her last visit.

Trained by Christophe Clement for owner-breeder Patricia Generazio, the 3-year-old daughter of Discreet Cat and the Marquetry mare To Marquet is 6-for-12 with earnings of $705,900.

The New York bred has won four of five since joining the Clement barn, including the Pebbles in her last outing Oct. 14 at Belmont.

Second in both of her races over the Betfair Hollywood Park grass, Tiz Flirtatious returns four weeks after finishing sixth – two lengths behind winner Dank – in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.

Trained by Marty Jones for owner-breeder Pamela C. Ziebarth, the 5-year-old daughter of Tizbud and the Victory Gallop mare Masquerade Belle has won eight of 13 and earned $774,800.

Egg Drop has won three of her last four for Little Red Feather Racing and trainer Mike Mitchell since switching to turf in May.

The only defeat in that span was a runner-up effort behind Schiaparelli in the Grade II Royal Heroine Mile July 6 at Betfair Hollywood Park.

A gray filly by Alphabet Soup and the Adhocracy mare Rehocracy, the 4-year-old has won five of 11 and banked $344,020.

The Matriarch will be her first appearance in a Grade I. She has consecutive Grade II victories, taking the Yellow Ribbon Handicap Sept. 2 at Del Mar and the Goldikova Nov. 3 at Santa Anita.

Second behind Discreet Marq in the Del Mar Oaks, Wishing Gate comes off a victory in the Grade III Autumn Miss Stakes Oct. 26.

Trained by Tom Proctor for owner-breeder Glen Hill Farm, the 3-year-old Indian Charlie filly out of the Repriced mare Rich in Spirit has won four of 10 and earned $305,344. Three of those victories have come in her last four starts.

My Gi Gi will be trying to snap an eight-race losing streak as she returns to the scene of her last win for owners Dennis Conner and Wade Jacobsen.

Trained by Peter Eurton, the 4-year-old daughter of E Dubai and the Sadler’s Wells mare Relish the Thought hasn’t won since taking the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap by a nose over favored Lady of Shamrock June 9, 2012.

Sixth in the Grade I Rodeo Drive in her last start Sept. 28, My Gi Gi has won two of 15 and banked $321,790.

Stormy Lucy returns to Southern California after a four-length victory in the Ms. America Stakes Oct. 19 at Golden Gate Fields.

Owned by Erica Gaunt and trained by Frank Lucarelli, the 4-year-old Stormy Atlantic filly out of the Dixieland Band mare Here Comes Lucinda has won five of 17 and earned $247,950.

Bred in Kentucky by Mercedes Stable, LLC, Stormy Lucy is winless in four starts in Grade I races. Her best finish was a second behind Lady of Shamrock in last year’s Del Mar Oaks.

From inside out, the field for the Matriarch: Egg Drop, Martin Garcia rides, 123 pounds; Discreet Marq, Rafael Bejarano, 120; Wishing Gate, Joe Talamo, 120; My Gi Gi, Corey Nakatani, 123; Tiz Flirtatious, Joel Rosario, 123; Dayatthespa, Javier Castellano, 123; Pianist, Mike Smith, 123; Better Lucky, Julien Leparoux, 123 and Stormy Lucy, Isaias Enriquez, 123.

Rookie Sensation, who earned his first graded victory in the Twilight Derby Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, will make his first appearance over the Betfair Hollywood Park turf in the Derby.

Trained by John Shirreffs for owner-breeder Stronach Stables, Rookie Sensation is a neck away from being undefeated in three starts on turf.

The Unbridled’s Song colt was second in his turf debut July 19 at Del Mar before winning an optional claimer over the same course Aug. 31 and posting an 8-1 upset in the Twilight Derby.

Out of the Stately Don mare My Marchesa, Rookie Sensation, who broke his maiden over Cushion Track June 16, has won three of five and earned $183,050.

Admiral Kitten and Jack Milton, the 2-3 finishers in the Grade I Jamaica Handicap Oct. 5 at Belmont Park, will make their first start in California Sunday, but both are well-traveled.

Owned by breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Mike Maker, Admiral Kitten has won three of nine and earned $559,080. Only once has he been worse than second and already has a Grade I on his resume.

The Kitten’s Joy colt out of the Grand Slam mare Reachinforthestars won the Secretariat Aug. 17, defeating 12 opponents under jockey Rosie Napravnik.

Betfair Hollywood Park will be the seventh different track which Admiral Kitten has visited, joining Keeneland, Retama Park, Turfway Park, Churchill Downs, Arlington Park and Belmont.

The same holds true for Jack Milton, who has already competed at Gulfstream Park, Keeneland, Penn National, Colonial Downs, Arlington Park and Belmont for trainer Todd Pletcher.

Owned by Gary Barber, the War Front colt out of the Forty Niner mare Preserver has won two of seven and banked $293,250. He has not been worse than third.

The Ramseys will also be represented by Amen Kitten, who was last seen winning the Grade III Tropical Park Oct. 12 at Calder.

A gelded son of Kitten’s Joy and the Pulpit mare Crumbs of Comfort, Amen Kitten, who is trained by Wesley Ward, has won twice in 15 starts and earned $123,749.

Infinite Magic was runner-up in the second division of the Grade II Del Mar Derby Sept. 1 in his previous visit to California.

Trained by Rick Mettee for Team Valor International, the son of More Than Ready and the Danehill Dancer mare Truly Enchanting has won four of 11 and has a bankroll of $218,302.

Dice Flavor has been off the board in two races since his upset at nearly 9-1 in the Grade II La Jolla Handicap Aug. 10 at Del Mar.

The son of Scat Daddy and the Afleet mare Afleet Summer has won three of 11 and earned $275,000 for Oda Racing Stable and US Equine and trainer Paddy Gallagher.

Seek Again will make his first start in this country after winning three of seven and earning $69,030 in England.

A son of Speightstown and the Danehill mare Light Jig, Seek Again is owned by breeder Juddmonte Farms, Inc. and trained by John Gosden, who won a division of the 1983 Derby with the filly Royal Heroine.

Gervinho comes off a third in the Twilight Derby for owner Keith Brackpool and trainer Carla Gaines. The son of Unusual Heat and the Nureyev mare Foreverinthegame has won three of seven and earned $287,140.

Dry Summer finished directly behind Gervinho in the Twilight Derby, beaten by 1 ½ lengths after setting the pace at 22-1.

Owned by Britt and House and trained by Jeff Mullins, the Any Given Saturday gelding out of the Street Cry mare Greenstreeet has won four of 12 and earned $235,930.

Irish Surf will make his initial start at BHP since he defeated maidens by 3 ¾ lengths going nine furlongs July 6.

Trained by Dan Hendricks, winner of the 2007 Derby with Daytona, for Thor-Bred Stable LLC and breeder Gainesway Farm, the Giant’s Causeway colt out of the Seattle Slew mare Surfside has won two of 12 and banked $121,610.

He’s been off the board in two starts in graded races. Irish Surf was ninth of 12 in the Grade II John Henry Turf Championship Sept. 29 before finishing seventh in the Twilight Derby.

From inside out, the field for the Hollywood Derby: Dice Flavor, Aaron Gryder rides, 122 pounds; Infinite Magic, Joe Talamo, 122; Gervinho, Rafael Bejarano, 122; Jack Milton, Joel Rosario, 122; Seek Again, Corey Nakatani, 122; Admiral Kitten, Julien Leparoux, 122; Dry Summer, Mike Smith, 122; Amen Kitten, Javier Castellano, 122; Rookie Sensation, Victor Espinoza, 122 and Irish Surf, Jose Valdivia, Jr., 122.

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