Maggie Hart a Slight Favorite for ONT Matron Stakes

ONT Matron Stakes (Grade 3) – $150.000 Purse
WO- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
July 25, 2015

This weekend, we will have the ninth running of the ONT Matron Stakes, a grade three event for older fillies and mares.   Going back into its past, you will not see any of the great names that we have become accustomed to seeing.  Only one winner, Pariah Kite in 2011, has eclipsed the $1,000.000 mark in career earnings, and she did so by just over a hundred dollars.  Other winners have had good careers, and that’s how this field of five looks.  There is no wow factor in this race in regards to the horses entered, but they are fillies who have had steady careers thus far.  While the race is designated for older horses, there is only one non-three year old, that being the four year old Lightem Up Roxie.  No trainer or jockey has won this race, which first became a graded stake in 2011, more then once.  Prior to 2011, the race ran ungraded.    Let’s take a run through the field now and meet our entrants!

#1- Lullaby Maker Tf (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by D Moran)- After a run of finishes in which she consistently hit the board, Lullaby Maker Tf was purchased by Team 7 Illusions in June for $150.770.   Her first race in her new silks was the $75.000 NY Oaks at FL, and she would prove to be victorious and earned a career high 95 SRF figure.  It was the fillys third lifetime win, and first such triumph in a stake.  This is her first chance at running against graded company, and it has proven to be a good field for her to show her ability.  If she can follow up that 95, then she will make things difficult for the rest of the field to catch her.

#2- High Percentage (Maverick Racing, ridden by E J Wilson)- This filly by Take The Plunge has the highest career earnings in the field at $236.780.   That figure is just a little less then the amount in which she was purchased from in private sales in March, with that tag being for $275.000.   She was coming off a fourth place finish in the Grade 3 Honeybee before that sale and immediate rewarded her new trainer with a second place run in the Grade 1 Ashland, losing in a photo.   Despite that, she was sent to an optional claimer in her next start a month later, and in that she was a distant third, five lengths back.   Thankfully, she recovered nicely in the Grade 3 IA Oaks last month.  From an outsiders perspective, she looks a little inconsistent based on her works, and that can probably explain her past performances.  I like her a lot if she brings her A-game.

#3- Lightem Up Roxie (Mo Mentum Farm, ridden by L Contreras)- At four years old, Lightem Up Roxie is the old lady of the group, and because of that she will be carrying five more pounds then everyone else in the field.  She has spent the majority of her career running in FL-bred races, and has won half of her starts (8 of 16).  It is right now, however, where she is the best form of her career, with a string of 6 wins in 7 career starts.  After the 5th win, she was claimed by Mo Mentum Farm from Thinken Stables for $62.500, a commitment was made to her right away by her new barn, and the filly rewarded her new trainer with a victory in the $65.000 Roxelana at CD last month.   She makes her graded stake debut, and as was said with Lullaby Maker Tf, the field has come up good for one making such a debut.  I really do like her current form, but is the five pounds going to be a problem?

#4- Home Sweet Home (Mb Stables, ridden by Alan Garcia)- This four year old filly by Red Echo is lightly raced compared to her opposition, and it only making the fifth start of her career here.   After a dud of a debut, and some potential shown in her second start, Home Sweet Home seemed to take well to some time at farm sweet farm, and after four months of a layoff, she broke her maiden in a debut at CD in May.  A month later, she was victorious in an allowance at that same track.  This brings her here and she’s never faced anything like this before.  At the same time, she won with lengths to spare in her last two, and seems to be able to run the time needed to win this race.

#5- Maggie Hart (Mb Stables, ridden by G Boulanger)- We close this out with another Mb Stables entry, and the one that would be my pick of the two of them.   She is by Condottieri, and was claimed by her current trainer back in January.  Showing confidence, Mb Stables put her in the Grade 3 Honeybee, but she came up short, finishing 6th of 12.  She would do no better in the Grade 2 Gazelle, placing 7th of 8.  That sent her to an N1X at LAD, a sizeable demotion, and she would bounce back with a win.  Her stake performance then showed to be improved in her most recent outing, the $100.000 Opelousas Stakes over a sloppy EVD track, and was second.   She’s followed that up with a couple good works, and is ready to run big here.  If the weights were even between her and Lightem Up Roxie, I would be making the latter my selection.  However, I think the five pounds can make a difference in Maggie Hart’s favor here.  She is my top pick.

Prediction: 5-2-3-1


— NS

Categories: Grade III

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