Cox Breezes Slew of Graded Stakes Winners at Saratoga

August 13, 2023

Wet Paint gets her Grade 1 in the Coaching Club American Oaks (NYRA/Coglianese)

NYRA Press Office

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y.— Two-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Brad Cox sent out a host of graded stakes-winners for workouts this weekend at Saratoga Race Course, including Grade 1 Coaching Club American Oaks winner Wet Paint, who is targeting the 10-furlong Grade 1, $600,000 Alabama on Saturday here.

A Kentucky homebred for Godolphin, Wet Paint posted her second work since her determined neck triumph in the nine-furlong CCA Oaks, covering five furlongs in 1:02.24 over the Oklahoma dirt training track in company with recent allowance winner and graded stakes-placed Slip Mahoney.

“1:02 and a super good work,” said Cox. “She’s been very steady and very good up here in the mornings. I like the way she came out of it and she’s set up to go the mile and a quarter.”

Cox also sent out Godolphin’s Matareya for a sharp five-furlong move in 59.22 over the Oklahoma on Saturday, her penultimate work before attempting her third Grade 1 victory in the $500,000 Ballerina Handicap on August 26.

“Awesome work. It was very quick and good, not just quick,” said Cox. “A good gallop out as well, so she’s set up for the Ballerina.”

Matareya was last seen finishing third in the Grade 3 Chicago on June 24 at Ellis Park well behind runaway winner Society, who worked five-eighths in 1:00 flat this morning over the Oklahoma main track. In May, she scored a one-length triumph in the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff at Churchill Downs in her second start of her 4-year-old campaign after finishing second in the Matron at Oaklawn Park.

Last year, Matareya posted a strong run of three consecutive graded wins in the Grade 3 Beaumont at Keeneland, the Grade 2 Eight Belles at Churchill Downs and the Grade 1 Acorn at Belmont Park before finishing her sophomore campaign with a third in the local Grade 1 Test. She has finished in-the-money in 11-of-12 lifetime starts.

On Sunday, Cox watched as Miacomet Farm’s Heavenly Sunday breezed over the Oklahoma training turf in preparation for Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Lake Placid, a 1 1/16-mile turf test for sophomore fillies. The daughter of Candy Ride was last see finishing a game second in the one-mile Tepin on July 1 at Ellis.

“She’s doing great. It was an awesome breeze, and all of her works here over the turf have been great,” said Cox. “I love her gallop outs and the way she’s acting. I’m super pleased with her and hopefully we get a good setup.”

Juddmonte’s homebred veteran gelding Set Piece notched a breakthrough triumph in Saturday’s Grade 1 Arlington Million at Colonial Downs for Cox, flying from last-of-11 under Florent Geroux to coast home a two-length winner in the prestigious 10-furlong turf test for 3-year-olds and up.

Cox reported Set Piece, who collected his fifth graded score and boasts earnings close to $1.7 million, emerged from the effort well and that a next start has not been determined.

“I’ll talk it over with Prince Khalid and his family and make a decision,” said Cox.

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