After tracking throughout, Coffepot Stables' Imposing Grace flashed another gear in the stretch to secure the first stakes win of her career May 25 in the $150,000 Arlington Matron Stakes (gr. III) at Arlington Park (VIDEO) .
Imposing Grace followed early leader Lotta Lovin throughout Saturday's 1 1/8-mile race on Polytrack before surging past that rival midstretch to post a half-length victory. A 4-year-old Empire Maker filly, Imposing Grace improved to two wins and a second in four starts on Arlington's synthetic surface. She is trained by Wayne Catalano, who leads the current Arlington meet in wins and purse earnings.
With Channing Hill aboard for the first time, Imposing Grace completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.21. Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Sisterhood rallied for second by a neck over William Butler's Lotta Lovin but never threatened the winner. Lotta Lovin, who carved a soft half-mile in :49.38 and six furlongs in 1:13.67 under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, held third over Shadwell Stable's Ausus, who settled for fourth as the 5-2 favorite.
“I wasn’t expecting to be so close to the pace but she broke well and was sitting extremely comfortable on the backstretch,” Hill said. “She gave me all the confidence in the world picking it up at the eighth pole. When she got her head in front, she got to playing around a little bit.”
Imposing Grace had made her previous six starts on dirt at Churchill Downs and Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. She won a pair of allowance races before back-to-back runner-up finishes to 2011 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) winner Believe You Can in the Tiffany Lass and New Orleans Ladies Stakes. The dark bay filly entered the Matron off a sixth-place finish in the La Troienne Stakes (gr. II) May 3 at Churchill, which ended a six-race stretch where she had finished no worse than second.
Imposing Grace returned $19.20 to win, $9 to place, and $5.40 to show. Sisterhood returned $7.60 and $5.20, while Lotta Lovin paid $4.20.
Bred in Kentucky by Briland Farm and Robert Mitchell, Imposing Grace has posted a record of 4-4-0 from 11 starts with earnings of $241,320. She is out of the Gold Legend mare Chao Praya.
Rounding out the field were: Distorted Legacy, Hooh Why, Ice Cream Silence, and Diva's Diamond. Absolute Crackers scratched.