ONT Matron Stakes (Grade 3)- $125.000 Purse
WO- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
One Mile and One Sixteenth on the Dirt
July 11, 2020
The ONT Matron Stakes is a smaller Grade 3 event that takes place north of the border, sending older females around the main track for a mile and a sixteenth. This will be the fourteenth time that it has run in the game, and the tenth time that is has been a graded race. Purses for the stake have been generally consistent, ranging from $104.000 to $150.000 over its life, with the current $125.000 amount beginning in 2017. Lullaby Maker Tf is the most notable past winner, doing so in 2015 in what was the first graded race that she had ever run in. At the time, it was her second win a row, and that streak would increase to six, with the last one coming in the BC Distaff later that year. She’s produced a few quality foals since then with Puzzle being the top earner of those that are still presently active themselves. It is a career that all seven of our runners would love to emulate, both on the track, and perhaps off of it, as well. Let’s meet the field!
#1- Stellar Wind (Simmer Down Stable, ridden by Alan Garcia)- The five year old mare has not won for the trainer since being claimed for $75.000 in February 2019, but in those 14 starts, she has been second eight times. She is also good about getting some sort of piece of the purse nearly every time out. Therefore, she keeps showing up in these races as long as she is bringing something home. Her last race, at MTH, did see her place third but was not encouraging about her chances here.
#2- Scarlet And Gray (Nakamura Stables, ridden by J Lermyte)- This filly has been effective in ungraded stakes, but is still looking for a breakthrough at the graded level. There have been a few close calls, and one was recently in the Grade 1 La Troienne, where she was involved in a field-tight finish. Did not follow that up well in the Grade 2 Santa Maria, so will need to overcome that here.
#3- Camp Hollywood (Smokey Stover, ridden by J Stein)- Making her debut in the Smokey Stover silks after a $600.000 private sales transactions about a month ago. Surely then, the trainer feels that she has a lot of success left in her to make that kind of investment. She had previously run for John Henry, who got two dud from her to start off, before her second place finish in the Grade 1 Phipps six days before selling her. Smokey has not rushed her into her next start, and might be starting slow here to give her a confidence reboot. If she runs like she is able, then this race is gift wrapped with her name on it.
#4- Ghost In The Shell (John Henry, ridden by L Contreras)- Speaking of John Henry, he also sends one of his newer horses here to the ONT Matron. Ghost In The Shell, a horse I have really liked in the past, was picked up by the trainer in the March auction for $131.010, potentially a bargain price. It has been a little while since we have seen greatness from her, but perhaps she will just like running in the summer months, since that is when her biggest wins were last year. Due for a big result.
#5- Think It Through- Scratched
#6- Fabulous Angelina (Allinthegate, ridden by E J Wilson)- Looking to bounce back after two disappointing starts that has seen her only able to beat one rival in each. Before that, she was on good form, and even won the Grade 3 Royal Delta in February. When she was running well, she has not liked off tracks, something that we should mention is very possible here on Saturday evening in real world, so whether or not that leads to a wet track here remains to be seen. I’d be hesitant to pick her regardless, as she needs to show me that she has put the bad races behind her.
#7- Starship Viking (Mb Stables, ridden by S R Bahen)- This is the only three year old in the field, and that will give her a five pound weight allowance in the race. Overall, she has won four out of ten, with the highlight being a near miss in the $150.000 Suncoast at TAM in February. That kept her on the KYO trail for a little bit, but after running in the eighth in the SA Oaks, the expectations were slowed. After winning an optional claimer here last month, she makes her second graded run here.
#8- Smart Queen (Night Rider Stables, ridden by K Kimura)- The veteran mare will make the 28th start of her career, and she has continued to get it done on the track, with efficiency in hitting the board. Her eight career wins are scattered over the course of her career, and that includes the $100.000 Valentine Stakes at SA in May. She has made several graded starts, but has not picked up a win in one yet.