Volga Rolls to Easy Matchmaker Victory

(from Monmouth report)
Joseph Allen's Volga powered past her rivals to score a decisive 1 3/4-length victory in Sunday's $100,000 Matchmaker Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Monmouth Park grass.

Trained by Christophe Clement, Volga covered the 1 1/8-mile over a turf course rated "good" in 1:48 1/5 and returned $7, $4.20 and $3.60 as the favorite. Something Ventured completed a $27.40 exacta and paid $4.20 and $4. It was another three-quarters of a length back to Cocktailsanddreams, who paid $9.60 to show. The trifecta was worth $494.60.

"She was tons the best," said winning rider Joe Bravo. "The only thing they told me was not to give her too much to do. Once I turned the filly loose she just exploded past all the other fillies. She's a real classy horse."

It was the fifth win in 14 career starts for the 5-year-old mare by Caerleon out of Verveine by Lear Fan. The Matchmaker marked Volga's first start of 2003 and boosted her lifetime bankroll to $470,959.

In the day's other stakes action, Loving Lucy gained command entering the far turn and drew off to a dominating 11 3/4-length win in the $50,000 Junior Champion Stakes.

Trained by Mark Shuman, Loving Lucy covered the mile over a fast main track, originally scheduled for turf, in 1:40 2/5 and returned $6.20, $3 and $2.40 as the second choice. Wage A Penny, the race favorite, completed a $16.40 exacta. Dreamadreamforme ran third.

It was the second win in three starts for the daughter of Lycius - Assiuta by Overskate, who races in the colors of Monmouth's leading owner Michael Gill.

(Chart, Equibase)