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Matareya won the 2023 Derby City Distaff Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs on the undercard for the Kentucky Derby (G1). After holding off Wicked Halo and the heavy favorite Goodnight Olive, is the Brad Cox-trained Godolphin homebred now the top older dirt-sprinting female? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
Godolphin’s homebred Matareya took over from Travel Column at the head of the stretch and then prevailed through the stretch drive by a length over Wicked Halo to win the 37th running of the $750,000 Derby City Distaff presented by Kendall-Jackson Winery (GI) for fillies and mares, the first of nine stakes on the Kentucky Derby Day program.
Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Flavien Prat, Matareya covered the seven furlongs in 1:21.87 over a fast main track. It is the second victory in the race for Prat, who won in 2016 aboard Taris.
Travel Column set the pace with Matareya just off her flank through an opening quarter-mile in :22.07 with Wicked Halo three wide and 1-2 favorite Goodnight Olive in fourth tucked in behind the top trio.
Matareya grabbed the lead at the head of the lane with Wicked Halo to her outside. As Travel Column began to retreat, Goodnight Olive split horses to move to third but never could get off the rail as she and Wicked Halo raced side by side in tight quarters.
Matareya is a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Pioneerof the Nile out of the Bernardini mare Innovative Idea. It is the second Grade I victory for Matareya, who improved her record to 11-6-3-1 and boosted her earnings to $1,366,550 with Saturday’s $460,350 check.
Matareya returned $12.12, $4.96 and $2.32, Wicked Halo, with Tyler Gaffalione aboard, returned $4.34 and $2.16 and finished a length in front of Goodnight Olive, who paid $2.10 to show under Irad Ortiz Jr.
It was another 3 ¼ lengths back to Hot and Sultry, who was followed in order by My Destiny and Travel Column.
Flavien Prat, jockey, Matareya, winner: “We really liked our (post) position. That was a key to it. She broke sharp and I was able to get her right in the race.”
Brad Cox, trainer, Matareya, winner: “It was a very big effort. I’m very proud of her. Flavien (Prat) did a really good job of getting her into position. There were some really good fillies in there.”
Irad Ortiz Jr., jockey, Goodnight Olive, third: “I was stuck, the entire way. I had no place to go. I couldn’t get out of there. I had tons of horse, just no place to go.”
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