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2023 Matron Stakes Preview | Jody’s Pride Can Build Off Debut In Belmont At The Big A Turf Sprint

2023 Matron Stakes Preview | Jody’s Pride Can Build Off Debut In Belmont At The Big A Turf Sprint

Parkland Thoroughbreds and Sportsmen Stable’s Jody’s Pride will be out to solidify a triumphant career debut in the 116th running of Sunday’s Grade 3, $150,000 Matron for juvenile fillies going six furlongs on the outer turf at Belmont at the Big A.

The Matron is slated as Race 8 [4:22 p.m. Eastern] on Sunday’s nine race-program, which also features the Grade 2, $250,000 Beldame, the Grade 3, $150,000 Futurity – a “Win And You’re In” for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint – and a rescheduled edition of the Grade 3, $150,000 Noble Damsel. First post is 12:35 p.m.

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Jody’s Pride burst onto the scene this summer at Saratoga Race Course when breaking her maiden by 10 1/2 lengths in an off-the-turf maiden special weight on August 9 for trainer Jorge Abreu. The daughter of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah dueled to the outside of Mia Marcela through a sharp opening quarter-mile in 21.89 seconds before spurting clear in the stretch drive and crossing the wire in hand under Flavien Prat, who retains the mount from post 7. The effort garnered a 68 Beyer Speed Figure.

Since her astonishing maiden performance, Jody’s Pride has made a trio of moves at Belmont Park including a five-furlong workout in 59.93 seconds on September 22. Abreu said Jody’s Pride has noticeably matured since her maiden score.

“She was pretty promising,” Abreu said. “She came out of her race in great shape. She’s been breezing really well leading up to this race, which I’m happy with. She got a lot out of her last race and you can see that in the morning with her. Before, she was really green and was looking around. Now, she does everything perfect.”

Bred in Kentucky by Mr. Steve Weston, Jody’s Pride is out of the dual-winning New York-bred Scat Daddy mare Jody’s Song, whose dam Speightful Lady produced multiple stakes winner and graded stakes placed New York-bred Make Mischief.

Trainer George Weaver has entered dual stakes-winner Amidst Waves following a narrow triumph in the Bolton Landing on August 20 at Saratoga, but instead could opt for Sunday’s 5 1/2-furlong Indian Summer at Keeneland due to anticipated precipitation in the Queens County area this weekend.

“We entered at Keeneland, so we’ll make a decision tomorrow,” Weaver said. “She’s put together a nice resume so far and both the Matron and the race at Keeneland are logical spots for her. The Matron was our first choice, but Mother Nature might intervene.”

Amidst Waves is unbeaten in all three starts on grass, which all took place over different courses. Following a distant fourth on debut over the Gulfstream Park main track, the Midshipman chestnut defeated next-out winner Kodiac Wintergreen in a five-furlong maiden on June 11 over the Belmont Park Widener turf course. She then shipped to Monmouth Park to capture the Colleen on July 29 before her Bolton Landing conquest.

Amidst Waves is out of the Into Mischief mare Troublesome and was bought for $100,000 at the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.

Should she opt for the Matron, Amidst Waves will be ridden by Joel Rosario from post 12.

Trainer Charlie Appleby will seek to garner more stateside graded success when he ships Group 2-placed Star of Mystery [post 8, Jose Ortiz] by way of the Moulton Paddocks at Newmarket.

The Godolphin British homebred was a two-time winner going six furlongs this summer before finishing second in the Group 2 Duchess of Cambridge on July 14 at Newmarket. She arrives from a sixth-place finish beaten two lengths in the Group 2 Lowther on August 24 at York.

Star of Mystery, out of the Shamardal mare Mistrusting, is a half-sister to the Appleby-trained and Godolphin-owned pair of Grade 1-winner Mysterious Night and Althiqa, who shipped to New York to capture the Grade 1 Just a Game and Grade 1 Diana in 2021.

After winning in 2021 with Bubble Rock, trainer Brad Cox will pursue his second Matron score when sending out Ever So Sweet [post 11, Kendrick Carmouche] following a second-out graduation. The Irish-bred daughter of Calyx registered a 76 Beyer with a frontrunning score over a late-rallying Agra to win by three-quarters of a length.

Owned by Greg M. Hoffman, R.T. Racing Stable and Clay Scherer, Ever So Sweet is out of the Exceed And Excell mare Shine, who is a full-sister to stakes-winner Shamandar.

CJ Thoroughbreds’ Sugar Hi [post 3, Junior Alvarado] enters her turf debut from a distant sixth in the Grade 1 Spinaway on September 2 at Saratoga for Hall of Famer Bill Mott. The Twirling Candy bay was a six-length winner on debut on July 13 at Saratoga Race Course.

Bred in Kentucky by Fred W. Hertrich, III and John D. Fielding, Sugar Hi is out of the unraced Medaglia d’Oro mare Laughing Matters, whose second dam Justenuffheart produced 2006 Champion 2-Year-Old Filly and black type producer Dreaming of Anna as well as turf graded stakes winner Justenuffhumor and multiple graded stakes winner Lewis Michael.

Completing the field are maiden winners Leslie’s Loot [post 1, Jose Gomez] for co-owner and trainer James Chapman, Independenceavenue [post 2, Jorge Ruiz] for trainer Arnaud Delacour, Tricky Temper [post 4, Katie Davis] for trainer Jeremiah Englehart, Kerri Raven-owned and trained A Primera Vista [post 6, Carol Cedeno], the Melanie Giddings owned and trained Devil At Midnight [post 9, Shaun Bridgmohan], Love To Eat [post 10, Ruben Silvera] for trainer Mike Maker, and two-time starting maiden Marco T. [post 5, Manny Franco] for trainer Christophe Clement.