1 1/16th Dirt Grade III Stakes $100.000
2016 Champ: Iron Fog
A competitive field of seven will come together Saturday afternoon for the GIII Matron at Churchill Downs to compete for the $100.000 in purse money. It’s a great field for a $100.000 stake, let’s take a look at the field and see who will be in the winners circle on Saturday.
1- Turn On The Lights (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by Court J K)
Owners are hoping a stretch out in distance will get this one back to the winners circle, it has been since mid October since she has seen a winners circle. I have my doubts that the extra distance will be the answer to a win. Unfortunately I don’t see her being much of a factor in this deep field.
2- Sunita Bonita (Mb Stables, ridden by Hernandez B J Jr)
The first of three, 3 year olds in the field and one of two entries from the stable of Mb is very interesting. She has been a contender on the Oaks circuit all year long with three straight top three finishes. She will try taking on older horses for the first time in this one but she may just be good enough to overcome the age factor.
3- Heart Nebulae (Samlam, ridden by Bravo J)
After a few disappointing starts, Heart Nebulae is looking to get back on track in the Matron. She is a talented filly and showed that last year when she was able to qualify for the BC Distaff and finish a respectable seventh. I don’t think she will win this one but this one should hit the board.
4- Mint Condition (John Henry, ridden by Rocco J S Jr)
A wise purchase back in November for $150.000 has already started earning that back with a win in the GII Royal Delta in February. This four year old has the experience and talent to get it done in this spot. Her last start was a disappointing sixth but against a deep field in the GI Apple Blossom. If she can bring her best in this one I think she could be the one to beat.
5- Valiant Dame (Hunterman Stable, ridden by Flores D R)
Valiant Dame was a bit unlucky with this race turning up fairly tough for a $100.000 GIII, most other fields would allow this one to be a contender. This one may find itself near or on the lead early on but by the time they turn for home will likely be off the pace of the contenders in the race.
6- General Flecha (Mb Stables, ridden by Bridgmohan S X)
The second of two entries from the stable of Mb. She is a very talented three year old filly that you should probably add to your watch list but I think her inexperience will be a factor in this one and isn’t even my favorite of the Mb entries in this race but as we head into the summer we will hear more from this one in the 3 year old filly division.
7- Pink Beauty (Gdp Inc, ridden by Santana R Jr)
Another very talented three year old filly in this one. She has had two very solid outings since attempting the graded stake ranks, only finishing a length off in both those attempts. Her last couple starts have been run in fairly quick fashion. As a result I think she could be a real threat in this race. The more experienced Mint Condition will likely get it done but the seven will give her a run for her money.
The 2017 version of the Matron will be a fun one but in the end the experience and talent of Mint Condition will get her to the winners circle with a few of the very talented three year olds rounding out the exotic payouts.
My Selection: 4/7/2