Today begins the Hollywood Park Turf Festival, stretching three days and featuring 5 graded stakes, including the last two Grade 1 turf races this year. (For my thoughts on the rest of the turf festival, check them out in the Thorofan's Handicapper Corner) Today is the Grade 1 Matriarch for filles and mares going a flat mile on the grass. This race has fabulous fillies in its list of past winners such as Royal Heroine, Flawlessly and most recently Ventura. There is a compact field of 7, and appears to boil down to a two-horse race.
The favorite and the foreign invader:
#6 Special Duty looks to continue the dominance of Juddmonte in this race. They have been the owners of six out of the last thirteen winners, and look to have another strong entrant in this Hennessy filly. She ships in from Europe, and retains the services of top local jockey Rafael Bejarano. She brings in top form, as she finished only four and 1/4 lengths behind the world-class mare Goldikova last time out. She has not crossed the wire first this year, however, as both of her wins came via the stewards, as the winners were both disqualified from the top spot. She will be rolling late with her late kick from the back of the pack, but can she get to the pick?
The pick and the Texas invader:
#7 Wasted Tears is a hard-knocking speedball who goes to the lead and tells you to come and catch them. I have a fondness for this type of horse, especially when it is a mare on the grass. Last time out, she was uncharacteristically rated off the lead early on in the Grade 1 First Lady. She then went too swift to gain the lead going into the turn and stopped late, being defeated . Taken back to her home base, she has thrown several good works since and will problem revert to her front-running ways. Rajiv Maragh maintains the mount, and looks to atone for his mistake last time out. The field may catch her, but can they pass this game mare? This blog say "No."
This blog will have plenty of pictures for his wrap-up of the race (and the rest of the weekend races), as he is headed out to the track to finally see "Ten Top T-bred" Wasted Tears in person. Good luck this weekend everybody!
P.S. Time constraints prevented me from writing about the Grade 1 Clark Handicap, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention the pick #2 Apart aka Blame 2.0 aka Blame's successor. This son of Flatter has the same owner, trainer and breeder connections as Blame, and looks to carry the colors proudly in the Clark.