Miss Temple City notches third Grade 1 of the year in Matriarch

December 08, 2016 04:22am
Miss Temple City Matriarch 615 X 400
Photo: Zoe Metz/Eclipse Sportswire

What a way to call it a year at old Del Mar. Having already beaten males in a pair of Grade 1 races at Keenland this season, Miss Temple City came to the seaside oval as the mare to beat, but this particular Grade 1 is never easy.  Making herself right at home over a turf course where she is expected to return in 11 months for the Breeders’ Cup, the Graham Motion-trained miss ran to a determined nose victory in an exciting edition of the Matriarch Stakes.


Coming off a competitive fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Mile four weeks ago, Miss Temple City was sent to the post in the closing day feature as the 8-5 favorite. She broke well and quickly moved into a good stalking position on the outside. Meanwhile, Stays in Vegas, at 15-1, set all the pace in the one-mile affair. The three-year-old daughter of City Zip carved out moderate splits of :23.51 and :48.04 over the firm Del Mar Turf. As the field of ten hit the stretch for the sprint to the wire, it was clear that the young longshot was still full of run, but there was a bevy of tough older turf mares lining up to make their run at her.


Zindaya was closest to the leader, but to her outside, Miss Temple City was being asked for her best run by veteran rider, Edgar Prado, and the race favorite was responding. Outside of her, Roca Rojo, one of three from the always dangerous barn of Chad Brown, was in full sprint mode. Stays in Vegas was as game as could be, but Miss Temple City dug down deep to forge to the front late, while holding off the hard late charge of Roca Rojo. Stays in Vegas ran big, but had to settle for third in the three-horse photo while Mexican Gold, also from the barn of Brown, finished up strongly on the rail to complete the superfecta.

Of course it was Miss Temple City that took home the biggest prize, and deservedly so. After changing leads in mid-stretch, the dark bay daughter of Temple City displayed both her class and a nose for the wire. For her trainer, Graham Motion, the victory was his third graded stakes tally at Del Mar recently, having scored with Ring Weekend and Journey Home last weekend.

“She won by a little farther than I thought she did (looking at the photo finish shot).  I had a little bit of a sick feeling in my stomach when they hit the wire. I was a little bit worried at the top of the stretch as well. I think we were a little too cute with her earlier in the year trying to get her covered up and take too much of a hold on her. She’s got a lot of natural speed and the key is to get her settled. Edgar figured that out the first time he rode her. It’s really gratifying to end the year this way. I hated to see her getting beat all the time. She had a rough patch in the summer. Hopefully we’ll be here at this time of year next year.”


Final time for the flat mile was 1:35.16. As the bettor’s choice, Miss Temple City returned $5.20, $3.60, and $3.00 across the board. The 12-7 exacta with Roca Rojo was good for a generous $27.60, and the trifecta completed by Stays in Vegas paid $274.20.


The Matriarch win raised Miss Temple City’s lifetime mark to 16-6-3-2. All of her races have come on turf, and almost all have come at the highest level. She is now a winner of $1,453,038 for her owners, The Club Racing LLC, Sagamore Farm, and Needle in a Haystack.


While there will be no championship this year for Miss Temple City, thanks to Tepin, she put together an outstanding campaign which included not only the trio of Grade 1 victories, but also a pair of very respectable finishes at Royal Ascot and the Breeders’ Cup. Many years, a season like this would be rewarded with a Eclipse Award.


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Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

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