Nearly one out of every four winners of Belmont Park's Matron (gr. I) has been crowned 2-year-old filly champion, and the six juvenile fillies head postward Saturday in hope to keep that tradition alive.
Almost two weeks after her full brother sold at the 2006 Keeneland September yearling sale for $1.5 million, Magical Ride will shoot for her first grade I win in the seven-furlong Matron. By Storm Cat
out of grade I winner Victory Ride, she will return to the sight of her jaw dropping four-length maiden win, getting five furlongs in :57 seconds.
Most recently, the Rusty Arnold-trainee was bet down to 4-5 in the Adirondack (gr. II) at Saratoga, but after taking the lead early she was unable to hold on in deep stretch as she weakened to finish third.
"We walked out of that race with a tougher horse, I think," Arnold said in a release from Belmont Park. "She was nervous in the gate and needed to do a couple of little things which she didn't do. I call it second start-it is.
"She has not missed a beat and I feel very, very good about how she's going to run. With her speed she can take the part of the track she wants. She's awful quick leaving the gate."
Owned by G. Watts and Louise Humphrey, Magical Ride gets the services of Edgar Prado and will break from drew post six.
Providing a stiff challenge will be Octave, who defeated Magical Ride in the Adirondack, and Featherbed. Both fillies are trained by Todd Pletcher.
By Unbridled's Song
out of Belle Nuit, the seven-furlong distance should provide little trouble for Octave, who is owned by Starlight Stable, Jack Wolf, and Donald Lucarelli.
Octave will break from post three under jockey Garrett Gomez.
Featherbed (Smart Strike
-Favorite Feather) broke her maiden by 10 lengths in her second start. While Octave comes running late, Featherbed will be on or near the lead.
"They make good entrymates," Pletcher said. "We were expecting Featherbed to run the way she did in her second start in her debut."
Featherbed, who has yet to start over six furlongs, breaks from the rail with jockey John Velazquez. Pletcher conditions the filly for Sy and Bonnie Baskin.
The field for Saturday's $250,000 Matron includes:
1-- Featherbed (John Velazquez, 119)
2-- Cash's Girl (Stewart Elliott, 119)
3-- Octave (Garrett Gomez, 119)
4-- Eternal Grace (Joe Bravo, 119)
5-- Meadow Breeze (Kent Desormeaux, 119)
6-- Magical Ride (Edgar Prado, 119)