LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Godolphin Stable continued their winning ways into Kentucky Derby Saturday at Churchill Downs when Matareya pulled off a minor surprise over champion Goodnight Olive in the $750,000 Derby City Distaff (G1).
The first stakes held at Churchill since Pretty Mischievous scored for Godolphin in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on Friday, the seven-furlong Derby City Distaff was Matareya’s second win at the top level and her fourth stakes triumph overall.
Sent off at 5-1, Matareya was perched outside former stablemate and pacesetter Travel Column down the backside through splits of :22.07 and :44.50, grabbed the lead from that foe at the quarter pole, and maintained a safe margin to win by a length from Wicked Halo.
Goodnight Olive, last year’s female sprint champion and the 1-2 favorite coming in off of seven straight wins, was covered up all the way and was severely hemmed in by Wicked Halo throughout the stretch run. Unable to muscle her way through to challenge Matareya, she instead settled for third in what was her first loss since December 2021.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Matareya covered the course in 1:21.87 over a fast track and paid $12.12. Rounding out the order of finish behind Goodnight Olive were Hot and Sultry, My Destiny, and Travel Column.
Matareya rattled off three straight stakes win last season at three, including the Beaumont (G3), Eight Belles (G2) at Churchill over Derby weekend, and the Acorn (G1). The streak and her three-year-old season came to an end when she finished third in the Test (G1) in early August. Matareya returned in the Matron S. at Oaklawn Park on March 31, finishing second to Wicked Halo over a muddy track.
“(Flavien Prat) said it wasn’t really her favorite track,” said trainer Brad Cox of Matareya’s loss at Oaklawn. “Maybe getting her back on a fast track probably propelled her forward today.”
Now a winner of six races in 11 starts, Matareya has bankrolled more than $1.5 million. Bred in Kentucky by her owner, she’s a daughter of Pioneerof the Nile and the Grade 3-winning Innovative Idea, by Bernardini.