No one could blame Chad Brown if he avoided Betfair Hollywood Park after Dayatthespa’s disastrous trip in last year’s Grade I Matriarch.
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
But that premise could not be further from the truth. The 34-year-old trainer chalked up the incident as a “fluky thing” and is bringing the City Zip filly back for another crack at the $250,000 Matriarch, which will be run at one mile on turf Sunday, Dec. 1.
“She was just in the wrong spot at the wrong time,” said Brown about last year’s race. “She saw something on the track and it appeared like she tried to jump the rail. They could have run that race 10 times and she would have been in a different place and never saw whatever she saw.
“I’m very confident and we’re going back to try it again. I know it’s a tough race and she’s going to have to bring her “A” game, but we feel she fits with these top fillies. She deserves to run in the race.’’
Brown indicated that Dayatthespa is quickly rounding back to her best form.
“It’s taken a little longer than I had anticipated, but her last race (second in the Grade I First Lady Stakes Oct. 5 at Keeneland) was her best of the year,’’ said the former assistant to the late Bobby Frankel. “I think she’s really coming back to her peak.”
Dayatthespa won’t be traveling to California alone this year. Brown also intends to start Pianist in the Matriarch.“(Pianist) may have run the best race of her life last time (a victory in the Grade II Athenia Oct. 12 at Belmont Park),” said Brown. “She’s another one that deserves a shot in the race.
"I’m not big on running my horses against one another, but when they both deserve to run in a race as important as this one, I’m fine with it.”
Both 4-year-old fillies are scheduled to arrive at Betfair Hollywood Park Nov. 26. Javier Castellano will be aboard Dayatthespa while Hall of Famer Mike Smith has the call on Pianist.