Adoration Cruises in Arlington Matron

Front-running Adoration tuned up for a possible defense of her Breeders' Cup Distaff (gr. I) title with a convincing two-length win in the $150,000 Arlington Matron (gr. III).

Under a tight hold from jockey Victor Espinoza, the 11-10 choice was challenged by Tamweel – who was always close to the moderate pace – on the far turn and through much of the stretch. But she pulled away under a vigorous hand ride to win smartly.

"She broke very sharp," said Espinoza. "When I got to the first turn, I slowed down the pace a little bit. When she turned for home, she switched leads nicely. I was pretty much in control especially because I knew I had the best horse and that made it easier for me.

"She did everything on her own very easily and opened up turning for home. I didn't want to use her too much. It was just a hand ride."

Adoration won the 68th running of the 1 1/8-mile Matron in 1:49 3/5 after setting fractions of :24 3/5, :48 3/5 and 1:12 3/5. She had plenty left in the tank after completing the mile in 1:37.

Four-year-old Tamweel, the 8-5 second choice in the field of seven and ridden by Rene Douglas, was well clear of third-place finisher Indy Groove. Tamweel, who won Arlington's Mariah Storm Aug. 13, had a three-race winning streak snapped.

Adoration carried top weight of 123 pounds, eight more than the runner-up.

David Hofmans trains Adoration, a 5-year-old mare by Honor Grades–Sewing Lady (Key to the Mint), who made her first start since recording a 1 1/4-length victory in the Fleur de Lis Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs June 12. She has won three of five this year, including the Santa Margarita Handicap (gr. I) at Santa Anita in February.

"The way she won was very important," noted Hofmans, who indicated the mare would make one more start before the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup at Lone Star Park. "She was on the lead and relaxed with a horse putting pressure on her the whole way and then being able to finish the way she did off the layoff was pretty good. She's a big, strong filly. I was very proud."

The victory, the bay mare's eighth in 20 starts, was worth $90,000 to owner Amerman Racing Stables LLC, pushing her career earnings over the $2 million mark. Her total stands at $2,051,160.

Lucy G. Bassett bred Adoration in Kentucky.

Adoration paid $4.20, $2.40 and $2.10. Tamweel returned $2.60 and $2.20 while completing a $9.20 exacta. Indy Groove, who was ridden by Earlie Fires, was $3.20 to show.

Julie's Prize, Bare Necessities, Allspice and Hennie's Song completed the order.

(Chart, Equibase)