The Grade I, $300,000 Matriarch Stakes is the feature on closing Sunday at Del Mar. The one-mile grass event drew a full field of 14, led by VASILIKA. The Matriarch goes as Race 7 of 9 on the day, with an estimated post time of 6:30 p.m. EST. In addition to watching and wagering, be sure to check out FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!
#9 VASILIKA (7-2, morning-line favorite) is in the running for best claim of the year. Picked up for $40k by Jerry Hollendorfer in February, she ran second by a neck in her next start before reeling off eight straight victories. That includes graded scores in the Mabee, Rodeo Drive and Goldikova. Three of VASILIKA’s wins occurred at this mile trip, and she’s 2-for-2 at Del Mar. This versatile runner makes her own racing luck under Flavien Prat. Expect her to sit just off an honest pace before charging home late.
#10 MISSION IMPASSIBLE (5-1) produced a solid effort in her U.S. debut, finishing second to the talented Rushing Fall in the QE II Challenge Cup at Keeneland. Her lone stakes win overseas was a one-mile race, so perhaps the turnback will help. Florent Geroux makes the trip in to ride.
#13 UNI (9-2) is one of three entrants for Chad Brown (#5 QUIDURA and #14 RYMSKA are the others). She was done no favors at the draw, but she’s tough to dismiss. UNI has won three straight starts, including the Noble Damsel last time out, to start her year. She’s yet to win a Grade I but is fast enough to at least land a share in the Matriarch. Joel Rosario ships in for the call.
#8 INSTA ERMA (12-1) should be rolling from well behind under Drayden Van Dyke. She’s been inconsistent this year, sandwiching a Grade III Ladies Turf (Kentucky Downs) win two-back with two off-the-board efforts. It’s worth noting INSTA ERMA was third in the 2017 renewal of the Matriarch.
The play: $4 exacta 9/10,13, $2 exacta 9/8 ($10)
DFJ analysis: Joel Rosario intrigues as he flies in for the assignment on UNI in the Matriarch. He rides in four other races on Sunday, with his highest-priced mount at just 6-1. Rosario will also be aboard the comebacking Greyvitos in Race 8.
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