ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. -- Flipcup finished a flat fifth Dec. 12 in the Bay Ridge on the Aqueduct inner dirt and for an encore got a winter break. Bill Mott started breezing her again in April at Payson Park in Florida, perused the national stakes schedule, and settled on the Arlington Matron as a logical spot to bring the mare back for her 5-year-old campaign.
See the target, sight the target, and hit the target, as Flipcup won the Grade 3, $100,000 Matron by a neck over favored No Fault of Mine on Saturday at Arlington.
"From her history she likes the Polytrack, so that was why Bill wanted to point her for this race," said Mark Schreiber, a second assistant working alongside assistant trainer Kenny McCarthy with Mott's Kentucky string. "She'd been working steadily and just doing everything right like you'd want her to."
Her trip in the Matron worked, too, with Chris Emigh sitting Flipcup in the pocket behind Tiz Lately's slow Polytrack pace of 25.05 and 49.29 seconds. Innovative Idea, pressing in the two path, kindly fell away around the far turn, allowing Emigh a way out, and Flipcup had little trouble disposing of the other pace player, She's Not Here. Then came the real challenge, as No Fault of Mine, who had raced mid-pack and quickened past the three-furlong pole, launched what looked like a winning bid, but Flipcup, drifting several paths out from her original course, held No Fault of Mine at bay.
Jockey Carlos Marquez said he believed No Fault of Mine would have won had Flipcup not drifted, but Arlington stewards disallowed his objection."
"I thought I had a little more horse than that turning for home," Marquez said. "She might have hung a little bit. She tried hard though. I can't take anything away from her."
Flipcup also tried hard, and even if better fortune made the difference between victory and defeat Saturday, credit to her connections for having her set to pick up at the start of her 5-year-old campaign in the peak form she showed in October. Flipcup won 2 of 5 last season and peaked with a win Oct. 31 over Woodbine's Polytrack in the Grade 3 Maple Leaf.
"When you're on one that Mott sends you know you have a good chance to win," said Emigh.
This was Mott's first stakes win at Arlington since 2011, and it gave Flipcup, a New York-bred daughter of Milwaukee Brew her seventh win from 19 starts. She's owned by her breeder, Team Penney Racing, as well as Wachtel Stable and Brous Stable. Flipcup ran 1-1/8 miles in 1:51.32 and paid $12.20 to win.
The 2-1 second choice, Brooklynsway, who stumbled one stride into the race and wound up last and rank early, far behind the forward position jockey E.T. Baird said he expected, finished third, 3-1/2 lengths behind No Fault of Mine.