OCEANPORT, N.J. – Peter Brant’s Lemista (IRE), who was a multiple graded stakes winner in Ireland before Brant purchased her and brought her stateside in 2021, captured her first North American win and graded stakes win in North America with a gutsy effort in the Grade 3, $200,000 WinStar Matchmaker Series.
Lemista, who is trained by Chad Brown and was ridden by Flavien Prat, rated off the pace in the 1 1/8 miles turf race, took the lead heading for home, and dug in late to repel a charge from her fast-closing stablemate Fluffy Socks and cross the wire a half-length in front. Vigilante’s Way finished took third by a neck.
Lemista doesn’t have a great turn of foot and I’ve been frustrated when she’s been out of position. She ran decent last time when she got dragged to the back of the pack. She just needs to break into position and today I thought for the first time that she had really good forward position.” Brown commented.
“She has a good kick; she’s just not going to circle the field. She’s not that kind of horse, so I’m very pleased with the trip that Flavien (Prat) worked out for her. The other filly (Fluffy Socks) was a little bit wide, but she was game as usual. She’s very consistent. She had a more challenging trip having to lose some ground on that final turn and that was the difference.
“I was thinking about what might be next for both of them. The Beverly D might come back a little quick off a hot day and it’s a hard stretch run there. If not there, races like the Ballston Spa at Saratoga, maybe. That will give them a little more time between starts. We’ll see,” Brown continued.
Lemista covered the nine furlongs over firm turf in 1:47:07. Dispatched as the fourth betting choice in the field of eight fillies and mare, she paid $11.20 for a $2 win bet.
“I had a good trip. She broke well. I got a chance to get myself in a good position. I was travelling really well and when I squeezed her for a little more she responded. I rode her last year. It seems like she has grown a lot physically. Chad Brown did a great job bringing her back. She ran really well. She has always shown some talent. When I rode her last year she got beat by two really good fillies who went on to win Grade 1s. She has always been a nice filly and Chad said before the race that he was hoping for a good run from her,” Prat explained.
The top three finishers will be awarded a season to WinStar stallions Global Campaign, Tom’s d’Etat, and Improbable.
By Lynne Snierson of the Monmouth Park publicity staff
#2 Lemista with Flavien Prat riding won the $200,000 Grade III WinStar Matchmaker Stakes. Photo By Nikki Sherman/EQUI-PHOTO