OCEANPORT, NJ – Trainer Chad Brown capped off a big day at Monmouth Park when Wekeela took the Grade 3, $100,000 Matchmaker Stakes.
Brown had a total of six horses run in four races at Monmouth on Sunday and collected three wins, including Money Multiplier in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes, with his only defeat coming after the Matchmaker in the Grade 1, $1,000,000 Haskell.
Jockey Javier Castellano put the Martin Schwartz-owned Wekeela in a comfortable stalking position off of the pace as Judy’s Chance set early fractions of :24.61, :48.71 and 1:12.13. Castellano cut the far corner and swung inside of the leader while the 4/5 favorite, Miss Temple City, flanked to the leader’s outside. The two horses dispatched of Judy’s Chance and were set down for the stretch drive, with Wekeela prevailing by 3/4 of a length over a hard-charging War Story.
“It set up just like we planned,” Brown said. “Javier and I spoke in the paddock about how we had a terrific post position, but we had a lot of respect for both War Flag and Miss Temple City. We knew Weekela was probably going to have to get a perfect trip to beat those two horses today, and Javier executed that perfectly. He used that good post position to save all the ground. Luckily, the inside opened up, and she got the jump on everybody and held strong.”
Miss Temple City held on for third, 4 lengths ahead of Judy’s Chance. Giovanna Blues and Quiet Kitten completed the order of finish. I Dream of Lois was scratched.
“My plan was to be right behind the horses, saving as much ground as possible,” Castellano said. “You need to have a perfect trip to beat Miss Temple City, and that’s what happened. I was very aware of the situation. I took my shot riding the rail and it worked out great.”
Prior to joining Chad Brown’s barn stateside in 2016, the 5-year-old mare was a Group 3-winning and Group 1-placed horse in her native France. She had a pair of Grade 2 runner-up races (the Jenny Wiley and the Gamely) to begin the year before running 10th in the Grade 1 Diana. On the bench for 11 months, Brown brought her back last month in an allowance race at Belmont, which she won, before coming to Monmouth.
Wekeela returned $6.60 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.30 to show. War Story brought back $3.60 to place and $2.40 to show, while Miss Temple City paid $2.10 to show.