December 1, 2023

Matareya cruises in Acorn following late scratch of Echo Zulu

Matareya wins the Acorn Stakes (Photo by Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photos)

Saturday’s $465,000 Acorn S. (G1) at Belmont Park took an unexpected turn shortly before the start when champion Echo Zulu, the heavy odds-on favorite, was deemed lame in her left front by New York Racing Association veterinarian Dr. Anthony Verderosa and was scratched from the historic one-mile test for three-year-old fillies.

That left a field of four remaining, and new favorite Matareya turned the Acorn into a procession. Sent off at 3-10, the Godolphin homebred led throughout and coasted to a 6 1/4-length victory over Divine Huntress. It was another 5 1/2 lengths back to Dream Lith, with Inventing trailing another 16 lengths behind.

Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Flavien Prat, Matareya covered the Acorn distance in 1:35.77 over a fast track. She paid $2.60.

This was the third stakes win in succession for Matareya, who captured the April 10 Beaumont (G3) at Keeneland by 8 1/2 lengths and the May 6 Eight Belles (G2) at Churchill Downs by 2 1/4 lengths.

“I was a little concerned running her back in this spot so soon after the Eight Belles, but she was doing so great we decided to come here and she rose to the occasion,” Cox said.

Matareya won two of her first five starts and placed in the Fern Creek S. at Churchill Downs last November. Her lone unplaced finish to date, a dead-heat fifth in the Alcibiades (G1) last fall, occurred around two turns.

Bred in Kentucky, Matareya is a daughter of Pioneerof the Nile and the Grade 3-winning Innovative Idea, a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Lucullan. Her record now stands at 8-5-2-0, $946,867.