Morning Matcha Notches Last to First Win in $125K NYSSS Staten Island

December 3, 2023

Morning Matcha takes down the NYSSS Staten Island (Chelsea Durand)

By Mary Eddy – NYRA Press Office

OZONE PARK, N.Y.— LC Racing, Cash is King and Gary Barber’s Morning Matcha added a third lifetime stakes conquest to her resume with a last-to-first score in Sunday’s $125,000 Staten Island division of the New York Stallion Stakes Series, a seven-furlong main track test for eligible state-sired fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack.

Trained by Butch Reid, Jr., the 4-year-old daughter of Central Banker entered from a third-place finish against open company in the local nine-furlong Turnback the Alarm on November 3, finishing four lengths back of the top pair of the winning Interstatedaydream and Tizzy in the Sky, the latter of which finished second to the Reid, Jr.-trained pacesetter Dr B in yesterday’s Grade 3 Go for Wand here.

Reid, Jr. said Morning Matcha’s running style was better suited to today’s surface.

“We’re a very diverse outfit this weekend,” said Reid, Jr., with a laugh. “It looked a little more even in the first couple races I watched today – horses had come off it, where yesterday it looked like you didn’t have any chance to come from off it. That’s the way this filly is. You can’t change her game. She doesn’t like to be rushed. She likes to be held together for the first quarter of a mile and then you can go ahead and do what you want with her.”

Ridden to victory by Mychel Sanchez, Morning Matcha emerged from the outermost post six and trailed the field as Easy Play broke sharply and led the compact group through splits of 23.05 seconds and 46.59 down the backstretch over sloppy and sealed footing with Lisa’s Vision and Little Linzee vying for second position.

Sanchez coaxed his mount widest of all into the turn and ranged into contention as Easy Play tired and Lisa’s Vision made progress along the rail to take brief command into the stretch before Morning Matcha edged clear in the center of the course. The Kendrick Carmouche-piloted Bustin Bay, who stalked from fourth early on, made her run for the lead in between foes after three-quarters in 1:11.41, but Morning Matcha had plenty left to shake off her final challenger and cross the wire 3 3/4 lengths in front in a final time of 1:23.78.

Bustin Bay held second by 2 3/4 lengths over Lisa’s Vision with Little Linzee, Easy Play and Vallelujah completing the order of finish. Bank On Anna and Sweetie were scratched.

Sanchez, who was aboard for Morning Matcha’s off-the-pace Turnback the Alarm effort, said the talented bay was a bit farther back than he had anticipated.

“They went a little fast – that’s why,” Sanchez explained. “I got her to switch leads like we wanted to, sometimes she doesn’t, especially with this kind of track, but she handled it today. She ran big.”

Reid, Jr. said Morning Matcha will continue to race exclusively on dirt in the future.

“No more turf. We can eliminate that possibility – that’s the only bad race of her whole career, I believe,” Reid, Jr. said, alluding to a distant off-the-board effort in the Mrs. Penny on turf in August.

Bred in Pennsylvania by Crane Thoroughbred Services, Morning Matcha earned $68,750 in victory and boosted her lifetime earnings to $899,740, a marked profit after she was purchased for $18,000 at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Eastern Midlantic Fall Yearling Sale. Her 24-6-7-7 record includes a Grade 1 placing when second in last year’s Cotillion at Parx Racing and additional stakes conquests in the Main Line and Unique Bella, both at the Bensalem oval. She returned $3.50 on a $2 win ticket.

“Not bad for a little $18,000 purchase,” said Reid, Jr. “She’s been a godsend and just the easiest filly to train. She loves everything about training and racing. She’s a real pleasure to train.”

Live racing resumes Thursday at the Big A with a nine-race card. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.

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