Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) winner Kauai Katie puts her two-race unbeaten streak on the line in the $200,000 Matron Stakes (gr. II) Sept. 30 at Belmont Park, taking the next step toward the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
The 2-year-old daughter of Malibu Moon is the 2-5 favorite in a field of six for the six-furlong Matron, race seven on a 10-race card with an approximate post time of 4:02 p.m. EDT.
Kauai Katie, who broke her maiden by 12 lengths at first asking going 5 1/2 furlongs July 20 at Saratoga Race Course, easily overpowered four foes in the 6 1/2-furlong Adirondack. She won by 2 3/4 lengths after ripping through early opening fractions of :21.77 and :44.93 under Rosie Napravnik, who returns for a third outing.
Stonestreet Stables purchased Kauai Katie for $490,000 at this year's Fasig-Tipton Florida sale of select 2-year-olds in training. She is conditioned by Todd Pletcher.
"As Stonestreet also has Dreaming of Julia, who seems to be adept at longer distances, obviously you try to separate the two," said Pletcher, noting that Dreaming of Julia is pointing toward the one-mile Frizette (gr. I) Oct. 6 at Belmont. "This seems like a logical spot for Kauai Katie."
Pletcher will also saddle Cheyenne Stables and McNeill Stables' maiden winner Unabashed as part of an uncoupled entry in the Matron. The daughter of Elusive Quality was a 4 1/2-length winner in her only start to date, coming from off the pace over 5 1/2 furlongs against maidens at Saratoga Aug. 17.
"Unabashed actually surprised us a little bit," Pletcher remarked. "Not so much that she won, but I didn't anticipate that she would be away a beat slow, find herself behind horses, and would handle herself as professionally as she did. She took it all in stride and it was a very professional effort."
Spinaway Stakes (gr. I) runner-up Sweet Shirley Mae comes into the Matron looking for her second lifetime score for Ice Wine Stables. Trainer Wesley Ward sent the Broken Vow filly seven furlongs at Saratoga in the top-level event Sept. 2; she was beaten 2 1/2 lengths by the undefeated So Many Ways. Prior to the Spinaway she ran fifth in the July 20 Schuylerville (gr. III), that off a sound 1 1/2-length Belmont debut win.
Paul Pompa Jr.'s Baby J was third in the six-furlong Schuylerville after winning at 5 1/2 furlongs June 28 at Belmont. Trainer Rick Dutrow saddled the J Be K filly to a half-length victory in her debut.
Live Oak Plantation's Seasoned Warrior, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, finished second to Baby J in that June 28 start but came back to break her maiden by 3 3/4 lengths going six furlongs at Saratoga. The daughter of Majestic Warrior was fourth in the Spinaway last time out and is the 5-1 second choice on the morning line.
Doubled, winner of the Sept. 2 Sorority Stakes going six furlongs at Monmouth Park, completes the field. Nancy Shuford's homebred Exchange Rate filly won by 1 3/4 lengths for trainer Cathal Lynch in that event; she is two-for-four with her maiden score coming at Parx Racing July 24.
$200,000 Matron Stakes (gr. II, Race 7, 4:02 p.m.), 2YO Fillies, 6 Furlongs
PP., Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, Odds
1. Unabashed (KY), J.R. Velazquez, 117, T A Pletcher, 8-1
2. Doubled (KY), A.S. Arroyo, 121, C A Lynch, 20-1
3. Baby J (KY), R.A. Dominguez, 117, R E Dutrow Jr., 10-1
4. Sweet Shirley Mae (KY), K.J. Desormeaux 117, W A Ward, 12-1
5. Seasoned Warrior (FL), J. Rosario, 117, W I Mott, 5-1
6. Kauai Katie (KY), R. Napravnik, 121, T A Pletcher, 2-5