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Del Mar Preview & FREE Picks | Matriarch Stakes 2023: Whitebeam Leads Chad Brown Train
Whitebeam (John Voorhees/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

Del Mar Preview & FREE Picks | Matriarch Stakes 2023: Whitebeam Leads Chad Brown Train

Jared previews the 2023 Matriarch Stakes (G1) from Del Mar, then gives his top picks & long shots from Sunday’s feature race.

Whitebeam leads the 4-horse train from the Chad Brown barn, but could an outsider stop the invading killer quad? Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!

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The press release:

Saving the best for last. It’s always a nice way to wrap things up. In this case it’s the 43rd running of the G1 Matriarch, the final stakes race of the 2023 Bing Crosby Season and it has attracted a strong field of fillies and mares, ready to go one mile on the turf.

The G1 Matriarch is Race 7 on the nine-race closing day card. Approximate post time is 3:30 p.m.

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Absent from this year’s race is Regal Glory, winner of the past two runnings of the Matriarch. She’s been retired and is making babies. But her trainer, Chad Brown, is back and with as strong a hand as ever.

Brown has won the Matriarch three years running and five of the last six years. This year he’s shipped in four horses from his east coast base, all bringing impressive credentials to Del Mar.

Whitebeam heads up the contingent. Already a Grade I winner in 2023, the daughter of Caravaggio, by Scat Daddy, is owned and was bred by Juddmonte Farms. She made her U.S. debut in April when she ran a close second in the $100,000 Plenty of Grace Stakes at Aqueduct. Brown then sent her to Pimlico where she won the G3 Gallorette on Preakness Day followed by a victory in the G1 Diana at Saratoga in July, when she nailed her stablemate, In Italian, in the final jump.

The only blemish on her resume came last out when she ran fourth in the G1 First Lady at Keeneland.

“Her last race was disappointing,” Brown says of the Matriarch’s morning line favorite. “Flavien Prat came back and felt that she really wasn’t happy down inside and covered up. It just wasn’t the trip like the Diana when she was in the clear. So we’ll kind of work out a different trip for her this time.”

Brown also sends out Surge Capacity, a daughter of Flintshire who put in an eye-popping run in the G3 Valley View last out at Keeneland.

“She had a lot of trouble in there and really had no business recovering and winning that race,” Brown notes. “Most horses wouldn’t have been able to do it. She’s a very talented horse. She’s a 3-year-old and facing older so that will be a challenge for her but she drew a good post and hopefully works out a good trip.”

Fluffy Socks returns to California where she has run at least once a year since she was a 2-year-old and won the G3 Jimmy Durante at Del Mar in 2020.

“There’s a lot of pace in the race and it could set up very well for her,” Brown says. “The main reason for going out there, besides being a Grade 1, is that she has done well in California.”

Brown’s fourth entry in the race is Beaute Cachee, a French-bred who has finished first or second in all four of her races since coming to the states this year.

Brown doesn’t have a corner on the market when it comes to shippers running in the Matriarch. Trainer Bill Mott has sent out Wakanaka, a hard hitting 5-year-old who has been sprinting in her last three races.

The ‘locals’ in the Matriarch are also formidable. Queen Goddess won last year’s G1 American Oaks at Santa Anita. The daughter of Empire Maker came back from a five-month layoff in November and just missed to Closing Remarks in the G2 Goldikova at Santa Anita.

”She ran super and it looks like she’ll move forward off of that race,” trainer Michael McCarthy says.

Jockey Luis Saez flies in to ride her.

“He won the (G3) Pegasus (Filly and Mare Turf) on her earlier this year,” McCarthy says of Saez, “and he’s been nice enough to stick with her.”

Closing Remarks is back for the Matriarch. The Goldikova was her fourth Grade 2 victory of 2023, including wins in the Yellow Ribbon and the John Mabee during the Del Mar summer meet.

“She’s doing very, very well,” says trainer Carla Gaines. “We got a couple of nice works into her. She doesn’t have to do a lot because she’s been dancing every dance. This is the next logical step.”

Here’s the field from the rail with jockeys and morning line odds:

  1. Elounda Queen (Hector Berrios, 30-1)
  2. Hamwood Flier (Antonio Fresu, 12-1)
  3. Surge Capacity (Joel Rosario, 8-1)
  4. Gracelund Gray (Mike Smith, 20-1)
  5. Whitebeam (Flavien Prat, 3-1)
  6. Beaute Cachee (Umberto Rispoli, 8-1)
  7. Ruby Nell (Edwin Maldonado, 8-1)
  8. Queen Goddess (4-1)
  9. Elm Drive (Ramon Vasquez, 20-1)
  10. Fluffy Socks (Irad Ortiz, Jr., 5-1)
  11. Closing Remarks (Juan Hernandez, 6-1)
  12. Wakanaka (Jaime Spencer, 15-1)