2023 Matriarch Stakes at a Glance

2022 Matriarch Stakes, Del Mar, BENOIT
The stretch run of the 2022 Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar, which on Sunday will host the 2023 edition of the one-mile turf race for fillies and mares. (BENOIT photo)

This Sunday, Del Mar wraps up the fall Bing Crosby meet with its traditional closing-day feature, the $300,000 Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares on turf. The one-mile race typically attracts a high-quality, competitive field including a handful of grass females shipping in from the Eastern time zone, and such is the case in 2023, with New York-based Chad Brown sending four contenders.


Racetrack: Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, Del Mar, Calif.

Date: Dec. 3

Purse: $300,000

Distance: One mile on turf

Race: 7

Post time: 6:30 p.m. ET

Notable winners: Regal Glory (2022, 2021), Got Stormy (2019), Uni (2018), Miss Temple City (2016), Ventura (2009), Intercontinental (2004), Heat Haze (2003), Starine (2001), Ryafan (1997), Wandesta (1996), Flawlessly (1993, 1992, 1991), Royal Heroine (1984). 

First held: 1981

The four-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer has won this Grade 1 stakes in five of the past six years, including the last three in a row, and Brown stands a good chance of doing it again. Phil D’Amato, currently the most successful turf trainer in California, will start three of his own runners Sunday in an attempt to halt the streak.

1. Elounda Queen: Was not a factor in her North American debut in October, finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland, but she was in good form before that racing in France, winning two out of her final three starts there and losing the remaining race by a nose. This is her first start for D’Amato and she’s eligible to improve. Prefers good to firm turf as well, which she should get Sunday.

Jockey: Hector Berrios; Trainer: Phil D’Amato

2. Hamwood Flier: Front-running mare has been competitive racing in stakes on the California circuit over the past year-plus, winning a listed stakes and most recently finishing third in a Grade 2. In last year’s Matriarch, she opened up on the field and led by eight lengths after three-quarters of a mile but could not close it out, tiring in the stretch to finish fourth. This year’s field appears to be much tougher.

Jockey: Antonio Fresu; Trainer: Phil D’Amato

3. Surge Capacity: Ships in for Brown having won three of four career starts including two Grade 3 stakes. Most recently, she overcame some stretch traffic to close swiftly and win the one-mile Grade 3 Bank of America Valley View Stakes at Keeneland. Should live up to her name and be in the mix again Sunday, and this 3-year-old appears to have a high ceiling.

Jockey: Joel Rosario; Trainer: Chad Brown

4. Gracelund Gray: Figures to be a pace factor along with Hamwood Flier and Ruby Nell as she enters off of a gate-to-wire win in a one-mile allowance-optional claiming race at Santa Anita. She’s got some ability but has finished last in all three of her previous graded stakes appearances, one on dirt and two on turf – which is not promising, to say the least.

Jockey: Mike Smith; Trainer: Peter Eurton

5. Whitebeam: Emerged as one of Brown’s best grass runners during the spring and summer months with two graded stakes wins, including toppling stablemate In Italian in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes at Saratoga. But she failed to fire last out when shortened back to a mile in the First Lady Stakes Presented by Norton HealthCare at Keeneland, finishing fourth. Might prefer longer distances and will probably be overbet.

Jockey: Flavien Prat; Trainer: Chad Brown

Beaute Cachee (Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)

6. Beaute Cachee: Only won one of 12 starts in France before moving to the U.S. and Brown’s stable, but she’s improved in her four stateside races, winning twice and finishing second twice. She comes in off of a solid runner-up effort in a 1 1/8-mile turf stakes at the Belmont at the Big A meet, and if she maintain that form she has a good chance to hit the board rallying from midpack.

Jockey: Umberto Rispoli; Trainer: Chad Brown

7. Ruby Nell: Overcame a bad stumble out of the starting gate in her most recent start, a Grade 3 at Santa Anita Park in early November, to take a commanding lead through the backstretch and then have plenty in reserve to win the one-mile race by 3 ¼ lengths over 7-10 favorite Anisette. Jockey Edwin Maldonado is a good pace rider and she figures to be aggressive once more Sunday, but she’ll have company up front and that could tire her out in the late going.

Jockey: Edwin Maldonado; Trainer: Richard Mandella

8. Queen Goddess: Well-traveled mare has fallen off a bit from her best form reached around a year ago when she won a pair of Grade 3s, including the TAA Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Turf Invitational Presented by Pepsi in January 2023. She’s finished sixth, third, and most recently second by a half-length to Closing Remarks in the Grade 2 Goldikova Stakes going a mile at Santa Anita, which was her comeback after a five-month layoff. If she improves in her second start after the break, she’s got a chance, although she’s done her best racing at longer distances.

Jockey: Luis Saez; Trainer: Michael McCarthy

weekend Television schedule

Friday, Dec. 1: 12-4:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on FanDuel TV

Saturday, Dec. 2: 11:30 a.m.-5 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on FanDuel TV

Sunday, Dec. 3: 12-2 p.m. on FS1; 2-4:30 p.m. on FS2; post time varies on FanDuel TV

9. Elm Drive: Yet another filly entered in this race that prefers to either set the early pace or race close to it, and she’s mainly competed in dirt sprints. Her two prior turf starts came at 6 ½ furlongs on Santa Anita Park’s downhill turf course, and she ran well in both of them, winning a Grade 3 in the spring and finishing second by a nose last out in a stakes on the Breeders’ Cup Friday undercard. She also finished third in her only route back in August, the Grade 1 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes on dirt. The wild card in this race.

Jockey: Ramon Vazquez; Trainer: Phil D’Amato

10. Fluffy Socks: She’s competed all over the U.S. for Brown since debuting three years ago, rarely failing to fire but also rarely winning. Her last two races have been very good, as she finished second by a head in a Grade 2 race at Saratoga back in August and then third by 1 ¾ lengths and a half-length behind runner-up Beaute Cachee in a stakes race in New York in late October. Certainly capable of winning, but like several others in this race one mile is a bit short for her.

Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.; Trainer: Chad Brown

11. Closing Remarks: Arguably has the best chance of any filly/mare not trained by Brown or D’Amato of winning this race, as she’s taken three of her last four starts, all of them Grade 2 turf stakes on the Southern California circuit. She cut back to a mile in her most recent race, the Goldikova Stakes, and saved ground before closing late to defeat Queen Goddess and Hamwood Flier. Her win chances should be helped by a projected fast pace, although she draws an outside post Sunday after enjoying a dream trip in the Goldikova when breaking from the rail.

Jockey: Juan Hernandez; Trainer: Carla Gaines

12. Wakanaka: Like Fluffy Socks, this mare has been around for an eternity it seems and can also be counted on to put in a good effort in her races. She hasn’t won since taking a listed stakes over a year ago at Keeneland on Breeders’ Cup Saturday, however, she has run second twice and third once in six subsequent appearances. Also could be compromised by the far outside post position, although on the positive side top European jockey Jamie Spencer gets aboard for the first time.

Jockey: Jamie Spencer; Trainer: Bill Mott

THE PICK: Surge Capacity

LIVE LONGSHOT: Beaute Cachee

SUPERFECTA: 3-11-6-5

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