Matareya training forwardly for G1 Longines Test

July 15, 2022

Fluid Situation possible for G2 Amsterdam; Midnight Stroll emerges from G3 Delaware Oaks in good order
Saratoga Race Course Week 2 stakes probables

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Godolphin homebred Matareya has taken a giant leap forward in each of her starts this year, stepping up in class with every outing and breaking through at the top level when she posted a strong win in the Grade 1 Acorn on June 11 at Belmont Park to remain undefeated this year for trainer Brad Cox. 

It took Cox some time to sort out the best distance for Matareya, who flashed her potential last August with a debut maiden victory sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs at Ellis Park before stretching out to two turns and finishing an even fifth in the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland. She completed her juvenile year with a pair of runner-up efforts in the 6 1/2-furlong Fern Creek at Churchill Downs and a two-turn mile allowance at Oaklawn. 

“She’s very consistent. We loved her last year and thought she was a top, top filly,” said Cox. “It took me a little while to figure out what she wanted to do – I thought she’d stretch [out] and she didn’t.”

Staying at one turn proved to be the answer for the Pioneerof the Nile filly, who kicked off her sophomore campaign with a six-furlong allowance coup at Fair Grounds Race Course in January en route to her first stakes triumph in the Grade 3 Beaumont in April at Keeneland. She followed with a game 2 1/4-length win in the Grade 2 Eight Belles less than a month later at Churchill Downs. 

Matareya, who is usually the pacesetter or forwardly placed in her races, showed her versatility in the Eight Belles when she stalked from 3 3/4 lengths back in sixth and pounced to victory under a strong ride from Flavien Prat. 

“We cut her back and it’s obviously been the right move,” Cox said. “I thought her two races in Kentucky between the Beaumont and the Eight Belles were really good runs – the Eight Belles she came back [on short rest], as well. At three weeks and five days between runs, she was able to sit off the pace and finish up well. She won two graded stakes and then a Grade 1 this year, so hopefully we keep it rolling.”

Matareya returned to the one-mile distance in the Acorn, but was able to remain at one turn thanks to Belmont Park’s unique configuration. She set the pace in the compact field of four and overwhelmed her three foes, bounding away to an easy 6 1/4-length score in a final time of 1:35.77.

Cox said Matareya’s natural speed, as well as her ability to settle, are her best weapons. 

“She’s a very classy, well-bred filly and has found her thing around one turn. I think seven-eighths is her cup of tea,” said Cox. “I think anything around one turn she’s well suited. She’s very quick out of the gate, gets an early position and then relaxes well enough to finish up down the lane.” 

After securing her first Grade 1 victory, Matareya will now look to add another to her resume in the Grade 1, $500,000 Longines Test on August 6 at Saratoga, a seven-furlong sprint for sophomore fillies. She had her first work at the Spa with a half-mile drill in 48.87 seconds on Sunday over the Oklahoma dirt training track. 

“It was a good breeze and I think she’ll have three more works before the Test,” said Cox. “She’s doing good, she really is.” 

Cox also noted that Grade 1 Kentucky Derby winner Mandaloun could potentially make an appearance at Saratoga this summer in either the Grade 1, $1 million Whitney on August 6, or Grade 1, $1 million Jockey Club Gold Cup on September 3 after a last-out fourth in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster on July 7 at Churchill Downs. 

“It’s possible; I haven’t ruled it out,” said Cox. “We’ll leave him at Churchill to train and then make a decision and see who’s pointing for what. The Whitney and Jockey Club Gold Cup are races that could be in play.” 

Fluid Situation possible for G2 Amsterdam; Midnight Stroll emerges from G3 Delaware Oaks in good order

Following a graded stakes placing when third in the Grade 3 Dwyer, Curragh Stables’ Fluid Situation could target more stakes action in the 6 1/2-furlong Grade 2, $200,000 Amsterdam on July 31 at Saratoga Race Course. 

The John Terranova-trained Warrior’s Reward sophomore colt set the early tempo in the Dwyer, but was no match for 23-length winner Charge It, who registered a 111 Beyer in victory. Fluid Situation was triumphant at third asking when travelling seven furlongs in a Tampa Bay Downs maiden special weight on March 27. 

“He’d be cutting back from the mile,” said Terranova, who was still at Belmont Park tending to his string downstate. “He was third in the Dwyer behind Charge It, but we won’t be seeing him again. Not sure what we’ll face in a race like that, but he could possibly end up there.”

Gatsas Stables, R.A. Hill Stable and Steven Schoenfeld’s Midnight Stroll earned a career-best 86 Beyer Speed Figure for her narrow score on July 2 in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks, where she displayed off the pace dimensions en route to victory for the first time. A two-time frontrunning winner at Tampa Bay Downs earlier this year, the Not This Time filly rated in fourth along the rail, advanced into second approaching the far turn, and fended off a stretch confrontation from stakes-winner Shotgun Hottie to secure her first graded stakes coup. 

Entering off a troubled ninth in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico, Midnight Stroll satisfied Terranova with the redeeming effort. 

“That worked out perfectly. We were thrilled that everything went well. She ran her race and we made the right call going down there,” Terranova said. “She came out of it well, she’s up there at Saratoga right now.”

Terranova added that no plans have been made for her next start, and they will monitor the filly in the weeks to come.

“That was a big effort. We want to let her come forward. She’s a little bit of a lighter type at this stage of her life,” Terranova said. “She’s a little framey, so we’ll give her some time to fill out between races. We’re just letting her settle in up there this week and hoping everyone stays in a good rhythm up there. We’ll figure out the spots as we go. Not sure where we’ll land, but we’ll find something as we progress through the summer.”

Also on the grounds at Saratoga for the Terranova barn is multiple stakes-winning New York-bred Bank Sting. The Central Banker mare recorded her second largest winning margin when taking the six furlong Dancin Renee on June 26 at Belmont by 5 1/2 lengths under a hand ride by Joel Rosario. 

Bank Sting, owned by Hidden Brook Farm and breeders Joseph and Anne McMahon, will attempt her sixth stakes win in the $125,000 Johnstone Mile Handicap out of the newly designed Wilson Chute on August 12. 

Saratoga Race Course Week 2 stakes probables

WEDNESDAY, JULY 20
G1 A.P. Smithwick Memorial
Probable: Chief Justice (Cyril Murphy), Down Royal (Kate Dalton), French Light (Keri Brion), Historic Heart (Brion), Iranistan (Brion), Pistol Whipped (Leslie Young), Redicean (Young)

$125K Suzie O’Cain (NYB)
Probable: Busy Morning (Jorge Abreu), Dream Central (Gary Sciacca)

THURSDAY, JULY 21
$125K Rick Violette (NYB)
Probable: Coinage (Mark Casse), Dakota Gold (Danny Gargan), Topic Changer (Christophe Clement)
Possible: Seaver (Timothy Hills), Timbuktu (Brad Cox)

FRIDAY, JULY 22
G3 Lake George
Probable: Al Qahira (Bill Mott), Eminent Victor (Chad Brown), Sail By (Leah Gyarmati), Skims (Shug McGaughey), Spirit and Glory (Robert Falcone, Jr.)
Possible: Koala Princess (Arnaud Delacour)

SATURDAY, JULY 23
G1 Coaching Club American Oaks
Probable: Butterbean (Ken McPeek), Nest (Todd Pletcher), Secret Oath (D. Wayne Lukas), Society (Steve Asmussen)

G2 Shuvee
Probable: Bonny South (Brad Cox), Clairiere (Asmussen), Crazy Beautiful (McPeek), Malathaat (Pletcher), Search Results (Chad Brown)

G3 Caress
Probable: Bout Time (Cherie DeVaux), Caravel (Brad Cox), Miss J McKay (Clement), Robin Sparkles (Bruce Brown), Souper Sensational (Casse), Star Devine (Abreu), Time Limit (Mike Maker), Tobys Heart (Brian Lynch)

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