Although the field for the Aug. 2 Taylor Made Matchmaker Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth Park contains several accomplished entrants, nine-time stakes winner Rutherienne, who is often a fast closer at the finish, is clearly the one to beat.
The $200,000 race for older females will be contested over 1 1/8 miles on Monmouth’s turf course. Approximate post time is 4:30 p.m. ET.
Bred in Kentucky by her owner, Virginia Kraft Payson, Rutherienne has had a seasoned career record thus far of 10-1-6 from 19 starts. The only millionaire in the Matchmaker field, the filly by Pulpit —Ruthian, by Rahy has not raced since May 30, when she posted a three-length score in the Nassau Stakes (Can-IIT) in her first start at Woodbine.
That win snapped a seven-race losing streak for the Christophe Clement-trained Rutherienne, who prior to that had not found the winner’s circle since capturing the 2007 Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT). That year, she also won graded stakes at Monmouth, Saratoga, Belmont, and Calder Race Course.
Jockey Joe Bravo gets the riding assignment on Rutherienne, who will carry top weight of 123 pounds and break from post 8.
Although it’s been awhile since Ariege has scored a major win, the daughter of Doneraile Court—Kistroma, by Caerleon certainly stands a chance against Rutherienne as the only other grade I victor in the Matchmaker.
Trained by Bobby Frankel for Frank Stronach’s Stronach Stables, the 4-year-old dark bay or brown filly won last year’s Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) and Stonerside Beaumont Stakes (gr. IIT) on Cushion Track. Ariege enters the Matchmaker off a fourth-place effort in the June 7 Eatontown Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth. Ridden for the first time by jockey Kent Desormeaux, Ariege is looking for her first victory at the 1 1/8-mile distance.
Social Queen, who bested Ariege in the $150,000 Eatontown, could also pose a threat in the Matchmaker. The daughter of Dynaformer, who scored in the May 16 Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT), is owned by Jayeff B Stables and trained by Alan Goldberg. She will break from post seven under jockey Carlos Marquez.
Rounding out the field are Closeout, winner of the July 5 Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Arlington; 2008 grade III winner American Border; Captain’s Lover, a group I winner in her native South Africa; other stakes winners Meadow Saffron and Them There Eyes; and stakes-placed runner Princess Haya.
Taylor Made Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT), $200,000, Monmouth Park, Aug. 2, approximate post time 4:30 p.m. ET
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight
1. Princess Haya (TX), P Lopez, 116
2. Meadow Saffron (KY), C H Borel, 118
3. American Border (KY), E Trujillo, 118
4. Captain's Lover (SAF), J R Velazquez, 116
5. Them There Eyes (NY), J L Espinoza, 116
6. Closeout (FL), R Albarado, 118
7. Social Queen (KY), C H Marquez Jr., 118
8. Rutherienne (KY), J Bravo, 123
9. Ariege (KY), K J Desormeaux, 116