Pletcher will try for a second straight training victory in the Grade
2, $200,000 Matron on Sunday at Belmont Park when he sends 2-1
morning-line favorite Sweet Whiskey out to face a half-dozen promising
2-year-old fillies in the six-furlong race.
by Alto Racing, Sweet Whiskey is looking to atone for her fourth-place
finish in the Grade 1 Spinaway on September 1 at Saratoga Race Course.
Sent off as the favorite following her impressive maiden win three weeks
earlier, the Old Fashioned filly never appeared comfortable over the
sloppy track and was beaten 16 lengths.
[Velazquez] seemed to think she didn't handle the sloppy track very
well," said Pletcher, who won last year's Matron with Kauai Katie and
also took the 2002 edition with Marylebone. "Not only had he ridden her
in her maiden win, he'd also breezed her a few times, and he didn't feel
like she handled it like she does a fast track. I don't think it
mattered that it was seven furlongs that day; I think it was more about
Velazquez returns aboard Sweet Whiskey, who will leave from post position 3.
second and third choices in the Matron are a pair of Pennsylvania-breds
who will be meeting for the second time. In their debuts on July 22 at
Parx Racing, Miss Behaviour stunned even-money Gracer by going
wire-to-wire for a 2 ½-length win over the favorite. Both returned to
win their next starts, with Miss Behaviour taking the Sorority at
Monmouth Park by 8 ¼ lengths and Gracer rebounding with an impressive
front-running maiden score on August 25 at Saratoga, again as the
just a lovely, classy filly," said trainer Phil Schoenthal of Miss
Behaviour. "She had come to us early in the year and pulled a muscle
behind. We gave her a couple of months off, and by her final workout
before her first race we felt we had a nice horse. There was a lot of
buzz about Gracer, and we went off at 13-1, but I was confident in her."
by owners Cal MacWilliam and Neil Teitelbaum, Miss Behaviour will carry
121 pounds and jockey Garry Cruise in the Matron as the 5-2 second
choice on the morning line.
are the chances two horses like that would show up in the same race at
Parx?" asked Tony Dutrow, who trains Gracer for Team D Stable. "I knew
my filly was promising, and being a Pennsylvania-bred, I wanted to take
advantage of the purse structure and start her off there, thinking it
was a pretty easy deal.
had her about 75 or 80 percent for the race, which I thought was good
enough to win it," he added. "No excuses; the other filly was really,
really good. I felt good about taking her up to Saratoga next, and she
was very professional and very impressive. I have to say I'm excited
about her going forward."
With Joe Rocco, Jr. returning in the irons, Gracer, 3-1, will leave from post position 7.
out the field are Art of the Game, who was eighth in the Spinaway, and
three last-out maiden winners at Saratoga: Court Dancer, who won by 7 ¾
lengths on August 21, Miss Narcissist, who won at second asking on
August 28, and Ocean Boulevard, who won third time out on August 26.