Trainer Vicki Oliver thinks Southern Fiction rates another opportunity to earn some graded stakes brackets, and Sunday's $100,000 Matchmaker Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the turf at Monmouth Park is the spot. Southern Fiction, a 5-year-old mare by Brocco, won the ungraded Politely Stakes at Monmouth in June for owner G. Watts Humphrey Jr. But last out in the Eatontown Handicap (gr. III), she finished fifth after an eventful journey, but just one length behind Stylish in a blanket finish. "She didn't have a good trip," Oliver said. "I thought she should have won that race." For the 1 1/8-mile Matchmaker, Southern Fiction will have a new rider. Abdiel Toribio takes the reins for the first time. "He's never ridden her before," Oliver said, "but he's won some races for us in the past, and I know he's a good turf rider." Southern Fiction carries 115 pounds in the Matchmaker, two less than starting high weight Something Ventured. This will likely be the last season of racing for Southern Fiction, who has a 6-6-1 record in 21 lifetime starts and earnings of $299,132.
"She'll probably be bred next year," Oliver said. "She's earned the right to be a mom. And I can't wait to train her foals."Matchmaker Handicap (gr. IIIT), fillies & mares 3 & up, 1 1/8 mile on turf
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Lady Linda (KY), 115, Horatio Karamanos
2. Southern Fiction (KY), 115, Abdiel Toribio
3. Cocktailsandreams (FL), 112, Edwin L. King, Jr.
4. Affirmed Dancer (KY), 114, Brice Blanc
5. Twilights Prayer (NJ), 113, Dale V. Beckner
6. Lady of the Future (KY), 115, Jose C. Ferrer
7. Katie Kreitz (FL), 110, Alfredo V. Clemente
8. France Soir (CHI), 111, Richard A. Bracho
9. Something Ventured (KY), 117, Jose A. Velez, Jr.
10. Volga (IRE), 116, Joe Bravo
11. Cruise Along (MD), 113, Julian Pimentel
12. Sixty Seconds (NZ), 115, Joe Bravo
13. City Fire (KY), 111, Jose C. Ferrer