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Never Retreat After Sixth Graded Tally in Matriarch

Trainer Chris Block said Sunday that Never Retreat will make her final start in the $250,000 Matriarch Stakes Friday, and he hopes that a victory in the Grade I test for fillies and mares at one mile on turf will strengthen her case for an Eclipse Award.


“I think she deserves consideration,” said Block modestly of the six-year-old mare who could become the only horse in North America this year to win six graded stakes with a Matriarch score.


Never Retreat comes off a victory in the Grade I First Lady Stakes at Keeneland October 8, her fifth graded stakes victory of the year in 10 starts.

She earlier accounted for the Canadian and Dance Smartly stakes at Woodbine, both Grade II, as well as the Grade II Jenny Wiley at Keeneland and  the Grade III Honey Fox at Gulfstream.


“After the race at Keeneland, we looked at the Breeders’ Cup, but neither running against the boys at a mile nor the girls at a mile and three-eighths made sense,” said Block. “She was doing fine, and we looked for one more spot before retiring her.”


Block trains the mare for Team Block, which also includes his father David, mother Patricia and brother Ryan. Block, who spends most of the year in Chicago, will be starting his first horse in California after 22 years in the sport.


Never Retreat will be flown here Monday from Kentucky with assistant Drew Coontz and be ridden by Julien Leparoux.



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