Cocoa Beach Returns in Loaded Matriarch
Chilean-bred Cocoa Beach, runner-up to Zenyatta in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I) last out, makes her return to the track to face a loaded field of fillies and mares in the $500,000 Matriarch (gr. IT) Nov. 30 on the Hollywood Park turf.
Also entered for the one-mile Matriarch are grade I winners Black Mamba, Magical Fantasy, and Precious Kitten, the latter of whom won the event in 2007. The wide-open race also includes multiple graded stakes winners Roshani and Criminologist. The Matriarch is set to go to post at 3:35 p.m. PDT and is race seven on the Hollywood Park program, which also includes the $500,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT).
Owned by Godolphin and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, 4-year-old Cocoa Beach has been outstanding in her second season, going 4-2-1 from seven starts. After beginning her season in Dubai, the daughter of Doneraile Court won her first two North American starts, including the grade I Beldame Sept. 27 on a sloppy track at Belmont Park.
Cocoa Beach started slowly in the Ladies Classic before rallying along the rail and falling only 1 1/2 lengths shy of undefeated Zenyatta Oct. 24 on the Santa Anita Park Pro-Ride surface. This will be the dark bay’s first start on grass since breaking her maiden in her debut in Chile in January 2007.
Regular rider Ramon Dominguez will get the mount on Cocoa Beach, who has earned more than $1.3 million and never has been off the board in 11 starts.
Unlike Cocoa Beach, Black Mamba has a wealth of experience on turf, as she has made every one of her 22 starts on the surface. The 5-year Black Minnaloushe mare has had a solid 2008 campaign, winning the Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIT) and John C. Mabee Handicap (gr. IT) consecutively this summer in California. Her only off-the-board effort on the season came last out in the Oct. 24 Las Palmas Handicap (gr. IIT) when she finished seventh to Roshani.
Owned by Doubledown Stables and trained by John Sadler, New Zealand-bred Black Mamba will break from the rail under Mike Smith, who will ride the bay for the first time.
Lael Stables’ Precious Kitten won the Matriarch by 1 1/4 lengths last year over Wait a While and continued to show her affinity for the Hollywood Turf when taking the Gamely (gr. IT) there May 26. Last out, the 5-year-old daughter of Catienus led at the top of the stretch in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) before finishing fourth to Goldikova.
Regular rider Rafael Bejarano will ride Precious Kitten, who is trained by Bobby Frankel. She has earned more than $1.8 million from 24 lifetime starts.
Magical Fantasy is one of a pair of 3-year-olds in the field. The daughter of Diesis shocked the Del Mar Oaks (gr. I) field in August by winning at odds of 42-1 for trainer Paddy Gallagher. Most recently, she ran sixth in the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup (gr. IT) at Keeneland.
English-bred Visit, fourth in the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT), is the other 3-year-old in the Matriarch.
$500,000 Matriarch Stakes (gr. IT, Race 7, 3:35), Fillies and Mares 3 & Up, One Mile
1. Black Mamba (NZ), 123, Mike E. Smith
2. Magical Fantasy (KY), 120, Alex O. Solis
3. Precious Kitten (KY), 123, Rafael Bejarano
4. Criminologist (KY), 123, Edgar S. Prado
5. Rosinka (IRE), 123, Jeremy Rose
6. I Can See (KY), 123, Tyler Baze
7. Visit (GB), 120, Garrett K. Gomez
8. Roshani (KY), 123, John R. Velazquez
9. Cocoa Beach (CHI), 123, Ramon Dominguez
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