Jody’s Pride struts her stuff in the Matron (NYRA/Coglianese)
By Ryan Martin – NYRA Press Office
OZONE PARK N.Y.— Parkland Thoroughbreds and Sportsmen Stable’s Jody’s Pride legitimized a strong debut effort when taking on stakes company for the first time and earned an easy score in an off-the-turf edition of Sunday’s 114th running of the $150,000 Matron for juvenile fillies going six furlongs at Belmont at the Big A.
Jody’s Pride entered from a 10 1/2-length romp in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on August 9 at Saratoga Race Course, which also was originally scheduled for the turf. The daughter of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah proved the impressive first start to be no fluke when racing uncontested throughout the stretch en route to a 3 1/4-length conquest for trainer Jorge Abreu.
Leaving from post 5 under returning rider Flavien Prat, Jody’s Pride settled fourth and in the clear after breaking a step slow while Devil At Midnight and Love to Eat engaged in battle on the front end through an opening quarter-mile in 22.17 seconds over the fast main track. Rounding the far turn, Jody’s Pride leveled her way up to the front and matched strides with the pacesetters and quickly garnered a one-length command through a half-mile in 45.93.
Prat kept his charge to task through the stretch drive, extending her advantage to 6 1/4 lengths at the stretch call before crossing the wire in hand, completing the distance in 1:10.77. Tricky Temper made an inside rally to grab runner-up honors, 4 3/4 lengths in front of third-place finisher A Primera Vista.
Sugar Hi, Leslie’s Loot, Love to Eat and Devil At Midnight completed the order of finish. Independenceavenue, Marco T., Star of Mystery, Ever So Sweet and Amidst Waves were scratched.
An objection was launched by Kerri Raven, the owner/trainer of A Primera Vista, against Tricky Temper alleging interference at the quarter-pole. The objection was ultimately disallowed.
Prat said Jody’s Pride was able to quickly recover after the tardy start.
“I broke a step slow and I asked her to get herself into the race from there,” Prat said. “Once I hit the turn, she just swapped leads and naturally on her own took me there. I didn’t want to take anything away that came easy.”
Jody’s Pride is out of the New York-bred Scat Daddy mare Jody’s Song, who was a two-time winner on grass for Abreu.
After contesting in a pair of off-the-turf events, Abreu expressed desire to finally run Jody’s Pride on grass.
“I want to get her on turf eventually, but Prat always said he liked her better on the dirt,” Abreu said. “I breezed her on the turf and she breezed pretty good on the turf at Saratoga. That was before she even ran, and I trained her mom – she was 2-for-2 on the turf.”
Abreu said his main concern was Prat getting her to relax.
“When she ran the first time five-and-a-half [furlongs], you know how they can be mentally, especially the fillies – they want to be a little keyed up and stuff like that,” Abreu said. “The first day we galloped her after the race, she looked like she was going to go the other way, but then she’s got a pretty good, level head, that filly.”
Abreu expressed interest in targeting the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships with his newly minted stakes winner and said the Grade 1 Juvenile Fillies Turf going a two-turn mile could be within play.
“I think she’s that kind of horse,” Abreu said. “[Which race] is something we have to sit down and see. We’ll see how she comes out in the morning and take it from there. I would rather go a mile. A mile on the turf. My first preference is turf.”
Jody’s Pride, bred in Kentucky by Steve Weston, returned $4.50 for a $2 win wager as the second choice and banked $82,500 in victory to enhance her lifetime earnings to $140,250. She is unbeaten in both of her career starts.
Live racing resumes Thursday at Belmont at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 12:35 p.m. Eastern.