Better Lucky, who paid a record $72.20 when capturing the $250,000 Matriarch Stakes a year ago, will try to become only the second repeat winner in race history Dec. 1 at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The race at one mile for fillies and mares is part of a grade I grass doubleheader on the final day of the Turf Festival. In addition to the 32nd renewal of the Matriarch, the 10-race program also includes the $250,000 Hollywood Derby for 3-year-olds at 1 ¼ miles. The Matriarch is race 8 on the card with a 4:05 p.m. PST scheduled start time.
The second longest shot in the field of eight in 2012, Better Lucky is rematched with Tiz Flirtatious, who she defeated by one length a year ago. Better Lucky, a daughter of Ghostzapper, racing for trainer Tom Albertrani and Godolphin Racing, won the First Lady Stakes in her most recent appearance Oct. 5 on a yielding Keeneland turf course.
Better Lucky, to be ridden again by Julien Leparoux, is 9-2 on the morning line this time around. If successful Sunday, the 4-year-old bay filly, a five-time winner from 13 starts and earner of $828,950, would join Flawlessly as a double Matriarch winner. Flawlessly won the Matriarch three consecutive years (1991-1993). Better Lucky drew post 8 in the nine-horse field.
Tiz Flirtatious has enjoyed a big year in 2013 for owner/breeder Pamela Ziebarth and trainer Marty Jones and comes into the Matiarch a month after finishing sixth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. The California-bred daughter of Tizbud encountered traffic problems in the 10-furlong event at Santa Anita Park, steadying at the five-sixteenths before rallying wide in the stretch to finish two lengths behind the victorious Dank.
Second in both of her races over the Hollywood Park grass, Tiz Flirtatious won the Santa Ana, John C. Mabee, and Rodeo Drive stakes earlier this year and missed in Hollywood's Gamely by a head when second to Marketing Mix. The 5-year-old mare, the 5-2 morning line favorite in this year's Matiarch with Joel Rosario taking the call, has won eight of 13 lifetime starts and earned $774,800.
Grade I winner Dayatthespa ships in from New York after running fifth as the 17-10 favorite with a nightmare trip in last year’s Matriarch when she jumped a shadow and propped leaving the first turn. The 4-year-old City Zip filly missed by a head to Better Lucky in the First Lady for trainer Chad Brown, who also will be represented in the Matriarch by Pianist.
Owned by Jerry and Ronald Frankel, Steve Laymon and Bradley Thoroughbreds, Dayatthespa has won eight of 13 starts and banked $823,892. Javier Castellano, who was aboard the chestnut filly in last year's Matriarch, rides the 3-1 morning line hope again from post 6.
Pianist (6-1), a 4-year-old daughter of More Than Ready, is already a three-time winner in 2013 for owners Hidden Brook Farm and Dan Zucker, including the Athenia Oct. 12 at Belmont. Mike Smith has the the mount.
Also pegged at 6-1 is 3-year-old Discreet Marq, who will be shooting for her second Grade 1 win of the year in California after taking the Del Mar Oaks Aug. 17 in her last visit to Southern California.
Trained by Christophe Clement for owner/breeder Patricia Generazio, the daughter of Discreet Cat has banked $705,900 following a runner-up finish in the Garden City and winning the Pebbles Oct. 14, both at Belmont. She also won the Sands Point earlier this year.
Egg Drop, who drew the rail at 8-1, has won three of her past four for Little Red Feather Racing and trainer Mike Mitchell since switching to turf in May. The only defeat in that span was a runner-up effort behind Schiaparelli in the Royal Heroine Mile July 6 at Hollywood. The 4-year-old gray filly by Alphabet Soup won both the Yellow Ribbon Handicap at Del Mar and the Goldikova Stakes at Santa Anita in her two starts since. She will be making her grade I debut Sunday.
Second behind Discreet Marq in the Del Mar Oaks, Wishing Gate comes off a victory in the Autumn Miss Stakes at the Matriarch distance Oct. 26 at Santa Anita. Tom Proctor trains the Glen Hill Farm homebred, a 3-year-old by Indian Charlie.
My Gi Gi, trying to snap an eight-race losing streak, and Stormy Lucy, a four-length minor stakes winner at Golden Gate Fields Oct. 19, complete the field.