Ventura in the 2009 Matriarch.

Ventura in the 2009 Matriarch.

Benoit Photography

Juddmonte Targets Matriarch With Special Duty

Criquette Head-Maarek's charge hopes to continue dominance began by Bobby Frankel.

Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms, which has won the Matriarch Stakes (gr. IT) a record six times, is well poised to try for another Nov. 26 when the $250,000 event is run at Hollywood Park for the 29th time.

Juddmonte, which won a year ago with favored Ventura, will be represented by homebred Special Duty in the one-mile turf test.

The Matriarch commences Hollywood Park’s three-day Autumn Turf Festival. The Festival also includes the $100,000 Generous Stakes (gr. IIIT) and $250,000 Citation Handicap (gr. IIT) Nov. 27, and $100,000 Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) and $250,000 Hollywood Derby (gr. IT) Nov. 28. The Matriarch, the ninth race on its program, is set to go at 4:35 p.m. PST.

Trained in France by Criquette Head-Maarek, Special Duty is a 3-year-old English-bred daughter of Hennessy out of the Distant View mare Quest to Peak. Rafael Bejarano has the mount and they will break from post 6 in the field of seven.

While competing in group I or group II races in all but one of her nine starts, Special Duty has won four times, amassing earnings of $1,070,938.

Her most significant win came in the Electrolux Cheveley Park Stakes (Eng-I) Oct. 2, 2009 at Newmarket.

Besides Ventura, Juddmonte’s other Matriarch wins have come with Wandesta (1996), Ryafan (1997), Heat Haze (2003), Intercontinental (2004), and Price Tag (2006). All except Ventura were trained by the late Bobby Frankel, who has a record eight victories in the Matriarch, first run in 1981. Frankel died shortly before Ventura won an emotional sixth for Juddmonte for former Frankel assistant Humberto Ascanio.

South African-bred mare Gypsy's Warning will shorten up a bit for her second start in California. Third as the favorite in the Yellow Ribbon Stakes at 1 ¼ miles Oct. 2 during the Oak Tree at Hollywood Park meet, Gypsy’s Warning will be seeking her third win in five tries at the Matriarch distance.

Trained by Graham Motion for Team Valor International and Green Lantern Stables, Gypsy’s Warning ships in from Maryland having won six of 16 races and earned $341,862. She’s a 5-year-old by Mogok who ran third in the Beverly D. (gr. IT) at Arlington Park prior to the Yellow Ribbon. She won the Eatontown Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Monmouth Park in her first U.S. start in May.

Joel Rosario rides Gypsy's Warning for the first time. They will break from the rail.

Wasted Tears, who had a seven-race win streak snapped when she was fifth in the Abu Dhabi First Lady (gr. IT) Oct. 9 at Keeneland, is hoping to get back on track in her second trip to California.

Owned and bred by Texas trainer Bart Evans, the front-running 5-year-old daughter of Najran won the John C. Mabee (gr. IIT) Aug. 15 in resolute fashion by a nose at Del Mar in her first start in this state. She’s won 11 of 17 and banked $720,598. Rajiv Maragh rides Wasted Tears, who drew the far outside post.

Lilly Fa Pootz, who missed by a nose to Wasted Tears in the Mabee, comes off a rare subpar effort for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who co-owns the 5-year-old with Team Green. She was last of nine in the Yellow Ribbon, her only off-the-board finish in 12 starts in 2010.

Claimed for $16,000 last Dec. 10 at Golden Gate Fields, the daughter of Gilded Time has since won four times and earned $212,870.

Go Forth North rebounded after an eighth-place finish in the Yellow Ribbon to earn a nose victory in the Harold C. Ramser Sr. Handicap 15 days later. All three of her wins have come at the Matriarch distance. Owned by L-Bo Racing, Monte Pyle and Summer of Fun Racing, the 3-year-old North Light  filly is trained by A. C. Avila.

Juddmonte's Price Tag was the last 3-year-old to win the Matriarch. There are four sophomores in this year's lineup.

$250,000 Matriarch Stakes (gr. IT, Race 9, 4:35 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 Mile (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Gypsy's Warning (SAF), J Rosario, 123, H G Motion
2. Lilly Fa Pootz (KY), J Talamo, 123, J Hollendorfer
3. Camille C (CA), V Espinoza, 120, M Polanco
4. Westwood Pride (KY), P A Valenzuela, 120, K Mulhall
5. Go Forth North (KY), D R Flores, 120, A C Avila
6. Special Duty (GB), R Bejarano, 120, C Head-Maarek
7. Wasted Tears (KY), R Maragh, 123, B B Evans