DEL MAR, CA – Employing the method that her Chad Brown stablemate Raging Bull used one day prior, Uni exploded off the far turn and came flying late to capture Sunday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar.
Breaking from post 13 under Joel Rosario at 5/1 odds, Uni settled at the rear of the field while Fahan Mura posted quick fractions of :22.80, :46.29, and 1:10.59. Tipped off the rail as she entered the far turn, Uni carried out and hit the top of the stretch running five-wide with gusto. Surging strongly with every step, Rosario’s perfectly-timed rally proved to be the difference-maker, hitting the wire first by a 1/2-length over Daddy Is a Legend in a final time of 1:34.35 for the mile-long event over the firm turf course.
“I could tell they were going a little quick up front because my filly has some speed and we were far back,” Rosario said. “But she was comfortable, so I was too. I just wanted to make one move with her. About the 3 furlong (pole), I could feel she was good under me, so we went outside and she went on with it. She’s a nice one.”
The winner’s stablemate Quidura led for a moment in the stretch but yielded late and just necked out third over Vasilika, with Dona Bruja and Rymska close behind. Mission Impassible tracked the pacesetter for much of the race but was unable to hold off the cavalry in the stretch run and weakened to seventh, heading Excellent Sunset for that final position. Insta Erma, Valadorna, Luminoso, a spent Fahan Mura, and Mopotism completed the order of finish. Ms Bad Behavior was scratched.
Uni’s win was her fourth in as many 2018 starts and improves her overall record to 14-7-3-2. The British-bred 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready increased her career earnings to $892,880 for co-owners Michael Dubb, Head of Plains Partners, Robert LaPenta, and Bethlehem Stables.
“It’s a really great experience for me and it’s really nice for my boss,” said assistant trainer Jose Hernandez. “It’s my first time to (saddle stakes winners for Brown) at Del Mar, but I’ve done it in other places. (Brown) is one of the best men I’ve ever known and he has very good horses.”
Uni returned $13.20 to win, $6.40 to place, and $5 to show. Daddy Is a Legend brought back $16.40 to place and $10.80 to show, while Quidura paid $6.40 to show.