Dayatthespa, who has won five in a row at three different tracks, will try to
keep her streak alive in the $250,000
Stakes on Sunday at Hollywood Park. The one-mile event for older fillies and
mares is part of a Grade 1 grass doubleheader on the final day of the Turf
Festival. The 10-race program also includes the $250,000
Derby, which drew an overflow of 15 three-year-olds at 1 1/4 miles.
Trained by Chad Brown, Dayatthespa is perfect in 2012, winning twice at Gulfstream Park and Keeneland and once at Saratoga. Three of the victories for the daughter of City Zip have been in graded races, capped by a two length score in the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on October 13 at Keeneland.
If successful Sunday, Dayatthespa could become the seventh three-year-old to win the Matriarch and second in a row, following Star Billing, the upset winner in 2011. The New-York bred Dayatthespa has won six of eight -- all on grass -- and will keep Javier Castellano in the saddle.
Star Billing and Summer Soiree, the one-two finishers a year ago, are back for trainers John Shirreffs and H. Graham Motion, respectively.
Star Billing is trying to become only the second two time winner of the Matriarch, joining Flawlessly, who won the race three times in succession (1991-93). The Dynaformer filly is winless in four races since her 10-1 surprise in the Matriarch, most recently finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita. Victor Espinoza has the call.
Summer Soiree has started only twice since her half-length defeat in the Matriarch. The four-year-old War Front filly was third in the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at Saratoga before finishing fourth in the Grade 1 First Lady on October 6 at Keeneland. The 2011 Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks winner will retain the services of Gabriel Saez.
Trainer Dermot Weld and jockey Patrick Smullen, who won the 2002 Matriarch with Dress to Thrill, are back for another shot with Emulous. The five-year-old daughter of Dansili is a homebred of Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Farms, who has won the Matriarch a record six times, the latest coming with Ventura in 2009.
Future Generation will be seeking her third win in four U.S. starts for trainer Christophe Clement. The Irish-bred Hurricane Run filly exits a 5 3/4-length win in the October 25 Serena's Cat at Belmont Park and Ramon Dominguez will be in to guide her.
In the Derby, Golden Ticket, who finished in a dead heat with Alpha in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga, will make only his second start on turf. The Ken McPeek-trained sophomore son of Speightstown exits a third in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby on September 22, and will receive a rider switch to Mike Smith.
The Irish-bred Rjwa will try to become the first filly to win the Derby since Royal Heroine in 1983. Conditioned by Francois Rohaut, the Muhtathir filly finished third in the Group 1 French Oaks in June and was fifth in the Group 1 Prix de' l'Opera Longines on October 7 at Longchamp most recently. Regular rider Thierry Jarnet will accompany her.
Only 14 will be allowed to start in the Hollywood Derby and the top six finishers from the Grade 2 Twilight Derby on November 2 are all part of the main body of the field.
Grandeur proved best when making his stateside debut for trainer Jeremy Noseda, rallying for a half-length score over Irish Group 3 winner Speaking of Which, who was making his U.S. bow for Weld. Smart Ellis, All Squared Away, My Best Brother and Power Foot, the respective third-, fourth-, fifth- and sixth-place finishers in the Twilight Derby, will also renew their rivalry.
Motion will send out a pair -- Lucky Chappy and General Logan -- in search of his first Derby victory. Grade 2 Virginia Derby runner-up Lucky Chappy owns better credentials, but General Logan has won three straight in advance of his stakes debut. New York-bred Unbridled Command will bring a four-race win skein into the Derby, including a win over open rivals in the Grade 3 Saranac two back.
There is also a Fans' Choice giveaway on Sunday with each per paid admission while supplies last. Items include Hollywood Park fedoras and shot glasses honoring Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner I'll Have Another.