After circumstances prevented Sharing and Tamahere from competing in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland, Sunday’s $300,000 Matriarch Stakes (G1) at Del Mar became their objective. Both are trying older distaffers for the first time, but the exciting sophomores are the class acts in the mile affair.
The Graham Motion-trained Sharing brings the best resume. A history-making victress of the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Santa Anita, the daughter of Breeders’ Cup winners Speightstown and Shared Account boosted her international credentials at Royal Ascot this summer. Although the rain-softened ground in the Coronation (G1) wasn’t optimal, Sharing finished second to Alpine Star, later the runner-up in the French Oaks (G1), Prix Jacques le Marois (G1), and Prix de l’Opera (G1). In the latter, Alpine Star split Tarnawa and Audarya – the next-out winners of the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) and Filly & Mare Turf (G1), respectively.
Sharing was under consideration for the Del Mar Oaks (G1) in August until a foot problem held her up. Instead she returned to Churchill Downs, scene of her successful 2020 debut in the May 23 Tepin, and captured the Sept. 4 Edgewood (G2). Her foot issue again ruled her out of the Oct. 10 QE II, but Sharing has been training forwardly for the Matriarch. Regular pilot Manny Franco will be aboard the chestnut, who’s a perfect 3-for-3 going a mile stateside.
Trainer Chad Brown had his new French import Tamahere pegged as a QE II prospect, until discerning that the temperamental lass wasn’t mentally ready to ship for her U.S. debut. The Wootton Bassett filly stayed at Belmont Park for the Sands Point (G2), also on Oct. 10, and swooped to a stylish win.
Tamahere’s form is not as gaudy as Sharing’s, since she spent more time in the provinces and did not go beyond listed stakes level. But her final outing for trainer Francois Rohaut was her best – a 7 1/2-length tour de force in the June 18 Prix La Sorellina – and her Sands Point had more than a touch of quality. Irad Ortiz sticks with the up-and-comer who is drawn on the outside in post 9.
Brown is responsible for one-third of the field. His two older entrants, Viadera and Blowout, furnished the exacta in the Sept. 26 Noble Damsel (G3) at Belmont. Both of Brown’s Matriarch winners, Off Limits (2017) and Uni (2018), had landed the same race en route to Del Mar. Blowout gets a new rider in Flavien Prat, while Viadera maintains her partnership with Joel Rosario.
Viadera is joined by fellow Juddmonte homebred Juliet Foxtrot from the Brad Cox barn. Juliet Foxtrot placed in her Del Mar trips last season, missing by a nose in the John C. Mabee (G2) and taking third in the Matriarch, and she recently regained the winner’s circle in the Oct. 3 Gallorette (G3). Hall of Famer Mike Smith picks up the mount.
Leading the locally based contingent are Mucho Unusual and Maxim Rate, the respective top two from the Sept. 26 Rodeo Drive (G1). Mucho Unusual used her “Win and You’re In” ticket for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, but found it too much in 12th. In the meantime, Maxim Rate continued her progress with a score in the Oct. 25 Goldikova (G2) on the cutback to a mile.
Like Maxim Rate, the improving Bodhicitta has won three of her last four, including a runner-up effort in the Gamely (G1). But she has not raced since achieving her new career high in the Yellow Ribbon (G2) here back on Aug. 8.
The speedy She’s Our Charm must step up from a fifth in her stakes debut in the course-and-distance Kathryn Crosby. Yet the Ron McAnally filly will be a factor through ensuring a solid pace, either single-handedly or in tandem with Blowout.
Cecil B. DeMille Stakes
Earlier in the $100,000 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (G3) for juveniles, the shippers have a more muted presence with only Motion’s Wootton Asset and Cox’s Royal Prince making the trip. Wootton Asset had useful French form as the fourth-placer in the Prix Roland de Chambure to King’s Harlequin, Go Athletico, and Sealiway. Although beaten in both U.S. starts, his near-miss in the Laurel Futurity and fourth in the Awad indicate he’s capable of better with the right trip. Firmer ground could make all the difference too. Recent Keeneland maiden-breaker Royal Prince has something more to prove in his first start versus winners. Both received the “visitors’ draw,” so to speak with Royal Prince in post 10 and Wootton Asset widest of all in post 11.
The home team has some depth. Zuma Beach winner Ebeko, back at a more suitable level after a ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1), renews rivalry with the respective third through fifth in the Zuma Beach, Cotopaxi, the troubled Caisson, and Big Fish. Commander Khai, fourth in the Speakeasy, is intriguing on the stretch-out to a mile.
Recent maiden winner Harlan Estate has some eye-catching company lines, having debuted in the same maiden that produced future American Pharoah (G1) upsetter Get Her Number, Commander Khai, and eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) runner-up Hot Rod Charlie. Party Game makes his American bow for Jeff Mullins, while Mark Glatt’s new recruit Beer Can Man makes his first start away from Indiana Grand, and Coastal Kid tries turf following a stumbling last in the Bob Hope (G3).