Dress To Thrill worked a half mile on the Hollywood Park turf course in :51 Sunday under Patrick Valenzuela in preparation for defense of her crown in the $500,000 Matriarch (gr. IT) for fillies and mares next Sunday.Dress To Thrill, who shipped from Ireland to win the race last year for trainer Dermot Weld, was transferred to the Christophe Clement stable this year and arrived from New York Monday with stablemate Dedication, a second Matriarch candidate.Dedication also worked on the turf Sunday, breezing four furlongs in :50 under assistant Arnaud Delacour. "It was just an easy work for both," said Delacour. "They're fit. They just need to enjoy themselves. They each worked a half mile and galloped out five furlongs."With a decision by the connections of supplementary nominee Adoration to skip the Matriarch after a disappointing turf work here Thursday, Valenzuela became available to ride the Irish-bred 4-year-old filly Dress To Thrill. Corey Nakatani has the call on Dedication.Dress To Thrill foiled Valenzuela's bid to win his first Matriarch last year on Golden Apples when getting up in the final strides for a head victory under Patrick Smullen.Trainer Neil Drysdale gave Musical Chimes the green light for the Matriarch after the 3-year-old filly worked seven furlongs on turf in 1:27 4/5 under Goncalino Almeida. Drysdale said she would be joined in the Matriarch lineup by Magic Mission, third-place finisher in the race last year. Drysdale also worked Australian import Bollinger seven furlongs in 1:28 2/5 on grass but said she would not make her United States debut until the $150,000 Dahlia Handicap at Hollywood on Dec. 20.Another Matriarch nominee, Ken Maddy Handicap winner Belleski, drilled seven furlongs on grass in 1:26 4/5 for trainer John Sadler.Probable Matriarch starters are: Acago (Julie Krone), Belleski (Victor Espinoza), Chopinina, Dancal (Javier Castellano), Dedication (Nakatani), Dress To Thrill (Valenzuela), Etoile Montante (Jerry Bailey), Heat Haze (John Velazquez), Island Fashion (Iggy Puglisi), Magic Mission, Maiden Tower (David Flores), Mer De Corail and Musical Chimes. Possibles include Garden In The Rain, Blind Ambition and Miss Terrible.
French imports Etoile Montante and Mer De Corail were scheduled to clear quarantine Tuesday and Thursday, respectively, and go to the isolation barn. Etoile Montante, trained by Christiane Head-Maarek, will form a Juddmonte Farm entry with Heat Haze and be transferred to Bobby Frankel after the race. Mer De Corail, trained by John Hammond, will go to Patrick Biancone after the race.Canadian invader Chopinina is to be flown in Tuesday from Toronto for trainer Alec Fehr.