Matriarch Stakes 2021: Odds, preview, pace projection, more

Matriarch Stakes 2021: Odds, preview, pace projection, more
Photo: Benoit Photo

An eastern contingent has traveled to the shores of the Pacific Ocean in hopes for a Grade 1 win.

Princess Grace (8-5) is the morning-line favorite for the $400,000 Matriarch Stakes (G1). Post time from Del Mar is 6:31 p.m. EST, with TVG showing the one-mile turf event for fillies and mares.

Of the six runners competing in the Matriarch, four are invaders to Southern California. Princess Grace runs for the Mid-Atlantic-based Michael Stidham, Regal Glory (9-5) and Viadera (5-2) represent top New York trainer Chad Brown, and Zofelle (5-1) is trained by the Kentucky-based Brendan Walsh.

Only Bodhicitta (12-1) for trainer Richard Baltas and Fast Jet Court (20-1) for trainer Michael McCarthy run for primarily Southern California outfits.

Eastern trainers have won each of the last five editions of the Matriarch, which is the final Grade 1 turf event of the year for older fillies and mares. Brown delivered three of those victories and wheels back 2020 heroine Viadera.

The 5-year-old Bated Breath mare Viadera won last year’s Matriarch by a nose over stablemate Blowout, then did not return to the starting gates until August. She is 1-for-3 in 2021, with her win coming at Saratoga on Aug. 28 in the Ballston Spa Stakes (G2).

Fellow Brown trainee Regal Glory owns two stakes wins this season, coming in non-graded races at Aqueduct and Saratoga. She battled Grade 1 rivals Oct. 9 at Keeneland in the First Lady Stakes, finishing a half-length shy of winner Blowout.

Princess Grace scratched out of that star-studded edition of the First Lady, then finished third as the 11-10 favorite Nov. 6 at Del Mar in the Goldikova Stakes (G2). The two-time Grade 2 winner goes for her first Grade 1 score Sunday under jockey Kent Desormeaux.

Zofelle, a Grade 3 winner, crossed one spot ahead of Princess Grace three weeks ago in the Goldikova.

Looking to the local hopes, Bodhicitta owns a graded score at Del Mar from the 2020 Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2), while Fast Jet Court has yet to hit the board in three North American starts.

Here is a look at the field for the 2021 Matriarch Stakes (trainer and jockey in parentheses) with morning-line odds:

1. Princess Grace (Michael Stidham, Kent Desormeaux), 8-5

2. Bodhicitta (Richard Baltas, John Velazquez), 12-1

3. Viadera (Chad Brown, Flavien Prat), 5-2

4. Fast Jet Court (Michael McCarthy, Drayden Van Dyke), 20-1

5. Zofelle (Brendan Walsh, Umberto Rispoli), 5-1

6. Regal Glory (Chad Brown, Jose Ortiz), 9-5

TimeformUS’ pace projections show Princess Grace under Desormeaux and Zofelle under jockey Umberto Rispoli going out front early on in a race lacking any pace. Note that long shot Fast Jet Court adds blinkers for this race.

Other Sunday stakes

Here is at other graded stakes taking place Sunday across North America. All post times are EDT.

3:14 p.m. – $200,000 Fall Highweight Handicap (G3), 3-and-up, six furlongs, Aqueduct, TVG

Chateau (5-2) looks for his second career graded stakes score in career start No. 38. Rob Atras trains the 6-year-old Flat Out gelding, who will have jockey Kendrick Carmouche aboard Sunday over a track where he won the Tom Fool Handicap (G3) on March 6. Sir Alfred James (3-1) wheels back less than two weeks after winning an allowance race Nov. 17 at Churchill Downs for trainer Norman Cash. Chad Summers trains Wendell Fong (4-1), a stakes winner who tries to make the grade in this spot.

4:31 p.m. – $100,000 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (G3), 2-year-olds, one mile (turf), Del Mar, TVG

Verbal (5-2) comes west for trainer Chad Brown for his stakes debut after winning on debut Oct. 10 at Belmont Park. Jockey Jose Ortiz rides the Flintshire colt, a Juddmonte homebred. Michael McCarthy trains Optimising (3-1), second last out at Del Mar in the Golden Mile Stakes. Derecho Dandy (5-1) graduated on third asking in his last start at Santa Anita for trainer John Sadler.

4:37 p.m. – $150,000 Mazarine Stakes (G3), 2-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 miles (all-weather), Woodbine, TVG

Aubrieta (5-2) aims for back-to-back Woodbine stakes wins after taking the Glorious Song on Oct. 30 for trainer Mark Casse. Jockey Patrick Husbands will pilot the Speightster filly. Jonathan Thomas trains Kanta (3-1), who won her second try against local maidens in her last race. Moira (4-1) debuted a winner in Woodbine’s Princess Elizabeth Stakes for trainer Kevin Attard and makes her first graded start here.

5:08 p.m. – $150,000 Grey Stakes (G3), 2-year-olds, 1 1/16 miles (all-weather), Woodbine, TVG

The Minkster (3-1) aims to improve to 3-for-3 for trainer Daniel Vella. Jockey David Moran gets the call on the English Channel colt, winner of Woodbine’s Coronation Futurity on Oct. 30. Attard trains Hicksy (4-1), who tries graded company after taking the local Display Stakes. Casse trainee God of Love (5-1) is another Woodbine stakes winner, having scored in the Cup and Saucer.

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