Matz Back in Churchill Winner's Circle

(from Churchill Downs report)
Sangrita, running for the Kentucky Derby-winning team of trainer Michael Matz and jockey Edgar Prado, grabbed the lead approaching the top of the stretch and powered to a two-length victory over Joint Effort in the $170,250 Chilukki Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Thursday.

Matz and Prado teamed with Roy and Gretchen Jackson's Lael Stable to win the 2006 Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) with Barbaro on May 6 at Churchill Downs.

The Chilukki victory by Sangrita marked Matz's first visit to Churchill Downs since that win. Matz is to saddle Fox Hill Farm's Round Pond in the $2 million Emirates Airline Distaff (gr. I) during the Breeders' Cup World Championships on Saturday at Churchill.

Owned and bred by Dorothy Alexander Matz, the trainer's wife, Sangrita earned $101,335 to increase her lifetime earnings to $152,265. The win gave her back-toback victories following a 3 ¾-length allowance win at Delaware Park on Oct. 9. Sangrita now sports three wins from five career starts.

"This filly is lightly raced, but she has lots of heart," said Michael Matz. "She showed that today. We lost the mare last year, but we were lucky enough to get two fillies from her. This is an exciting win for us."

The daughter of Mr. Greeley covered the one-mile distance over a "fast" track in 1:36.65 and paid $11.20, $6.40, and $4 in the race for fillies and mares.

Joint Effort, with Mark Guidry in the irons, rallied in the stretch to gain second and paid $4.60 and $3.20 as the favorite in the field of nine. Indian Flare, piloted by Rafael Bejarano, rallied to finish third after stumbling at the start and paid $3.40.

Sangrita broke sharply in the one-turn Chilukki, settling into second place behind pacesetting Mary Delaney (:23, :46) during the long run down the backstretch. Indian Flare broke slowly but rushed up to stalk the leaders in third, while Joint Effort settled in fifth. Prado moved Sangrita to pass the tiring Mary Delaney near the top of the lane and led after six furlongs in 1:10 3/5, then turned back a brief challenge from Indian Flare before she drew clear in the final furlong. Joint Effort swung wide for the drive and rallied strongly for second, but never threatened the winner.

"We just wanted to lay a nice second or third, and just press the pedal when it was time to go," said Prado. "It was great. That team has been working real hard and I think they deserve all the credit in the world."

"She always tries, and she tried hard today," said Guidry of Joint Effort, who is now 4-4-0 in eight races at Churchill Downs. "We had to kind of wait a little bit around the quarter pole, but other than that it was a good trip. I just couldn't catch (Sangrita)."

Wild Fit, the runner-up in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Belmont Park, finished fourth in the Chilukki. Lady Pegasus, Trippi Street, Humorous Gal, Mary Delaney and Golden Locket followed her in the order of finish. The field was reduced to nine by the late scratches of Prospective Saint, Vague, and Carmandia.

(Chart, Equibase)