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Miss Temple City, the 8-5 favorite under Edgar Prado, gamely held off the late challenge of an onrushing Roca Rojo to win the Grade 1 $300,000 Matriarch Stakes for older fillies and mares on closing day of the fall Bing Crosby racing season at Del Mar Sunday.
Miss Temple City, owned by The Club Racing and Sagamore Farm, was perfectly positioned in third place by Prado in the early stages of the one-mile race over the Del Mar grass course as longshot Stays in Vegas set a moderate pace.
She moved authoritatively entering the stretch to take the lead and then courageously held off Roca Rojo, who was ridden by Florent Geroux, in the final strides to score by a nose in 1:35.16. Stays in Vegas, handled by Drayden Van Dyke, held on well to be third, a length and one-quarter in front of Mexican Gold in the field of eleven female runners. Decked Out was withdrawn.
Miss Temple City, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Temple City, whose Annals of Time won the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby Saturday, was scoring her third success in a Grade 1 stakes for trainer Graham Motion, also having won the Makers Mile and Shadwell Turf Mile over males this year at Keeneland. In her previous race, she was fifth to males in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita a month ago.
Miss Temple City returned $5.20, $3.60 and $3 after recording her sixth victory in 16 starts. First money of $180,000 increased her career earnings to $1,453,038. Second-place Roca Rojo paid $5.20 and $3.60, while Stays in Vegas returned $5.60 to show.
Norberto Arroyo, Jr., won a single race Sunday, on California Silver at $4 in the second, for his 12th win of the fall season, edging out Drayden Van Dyke, who had eleven, to claim his first riding championship in Southern California. Sidelined Flavien Prat tied Van Dyke at eleven.
Peter Miller won his second fall Bing Crosby meeting training title with 16 triumphs, doubling the number of his closest rivals, Doug O’Neill and Richard Baltas. Miller won the eighth race Sunday with St. Joe Bay at $9.20.
In the Pick Six, with a mandatory payout on the 15th and final day of the meeting, $780,563 in “new” money was wagered added to $89,411 in the Single Ticket Jackpot for a grand total of $869,974. There were 44 perfect tickets and each was worth $15,660.40.
EDGAR PRADO (Miss Temple City, winner) – “The trick with her is to get her to settle early. We got a good spot early and in the first eighth of a mile she was relaxed. She was just going easy. We turned for home and I asked and she was there. I had some extra and I needed it. She’s a special horse.”
FLORENT GEROUX (Roca Rojo, second) – “She hesitated on me – just for a second. Then she picked it up and went. But that little bit might have cost us the race. She ran great, but I think we could have won it today.”
DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (Stays in Vegas, third) – “She’s got a nice turn of foot and we caught an easy lead. The fractions weren’t much at all and she was going fine. She fired, “`fired big. But she just got beat by two of the best mares in the country.”
IRAD ORTIZ, JR. (Mexican Gold, fourth) – “I got stuck down inside and couldn’t get out. If I get out, I might be right there.”
H. GRAHAM MOTION (Miss Temple City, winner) – “She won by a little farther than I thought she did (looking at the photo finish shot). I had a little bit of a sick feeling in my stomach when they hit the wire. I was a little bit worried at the top of the stretch as well. I think we were a little too cute with her earlier in the year trying to get her covered up and take too much of a hold on her. She’s got a lot of natural speed and the key is to get her settled. Edgar figured that out the first time he rode her. It’s really gratifying to end the year this way. I hated to see her getting beat all the time. She had a rough patch in the summer. Hopefully we’ll be here at this time of year next year.”
FRACTIONS: :23.51 :48.04 1:12.26 1:23.68 1:35.16
This was the first stakes win at Del Mar for rider Prado. This was the third stakes win of the meet for trainer Motion. He now has five stakes wins at Del Mar.
Del Mar Thoroughbred Club
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