Matthewsburg a comfortable Kentucky Cup Sprint winner
Trainer Mike Maker and jockey Victor Lebron visited the winner's circle for a fourth time on Saturday's Kentucky Cup card at Turfway Park after F. Thomas Conway and Matt Conway's MATTHEWSBURG (Ghostzapper) proved a decisive winner of the $100,000 Kentucky Cup Sprint (G3) for three-year-olds going six furlongs on the Polytrack. Racing very wide down the backside from an outside draw, the colt made significant advance around the far turn to get within a length of the lead. Continuing his wide rally, Matthewsburg struck the front in upper stretch and rolled to a 2 1/4-length victory in a time of 1:10 1/5. He paid $20.60, $9.60 and $5.40 as the 9-1 sixth choice on the board.
A two-horse duel in the opening quarter provided the quick pace Matthewsburg needed. Song of Humor (Songandaprayer) and Will's Wildcat (Eurosilver) were heads apart through a quarter in :21 4/5, but the latter pulled ahead as the half was reached in :45. Song of Humor had begun to retreat by that point as Phillippe (Mineshaft) and Matthewsburg ranged up on the outside.
At the top of the stretch, the race boiled down to Phillippe and Matthewsburg, but the latter proved too tough to fend off. Phillippe had a fight to hold off a determined Will's Wildcat along the inside to land second money. Ultimately he did so, by a head, with Song of Humor 4 1/2 lengths behind in fourth.
The order of finish was rounded out by Ronin Dax (Tapit), 2-1 favorite Cal Nation (Distorted Humor), Chilled (Yes It's True), Lou Brissie (Limehouse), Big Albert (Albert the Great), Unsaddled Glory and Free Entry (Tale of the Cat).
Unplaced in his first three outings, including a $75,000 maiden claimer, Matthewsburg was a 6 1/4-length maiden special weight victor at Turfway on March 26. Unplaced three times again in first-level allowance company following that score, he finally pulled out a win at that level in a 5 1/2-furlong dash on dirt at Indiana Downs. He preceded this victory with a distant second to Poseidon's Warrior (Speightstown) in the East Hanover S. at Penn National on July 30. His record now stands at 10-3-1-0, $123,609.
"I'm glad to see him duplicate a performance," Maker said. "I thought his race at Penn National was sneaky good. He got beat a ways, but that horse that beat him (Poseidon's Warrior) is a very good horse. I don't know what's next for him. I wasn't looking past today."
A $95,000 two-year-old in training purchase at the 2010 Adena Springs sale, Matthewsburg was bred by that entity in Kentucky. His dam, the stakes-placed Romantic Comedy (A.P. Indy), is a full sister to the multiple stakes winner Indy Wind and has also foaled the unraced juvenile filly Zerbinetta (Awesome Again).
Matthewsburg's third dam was Greentree's 1978 champion older mare Late Bloomer (Stage Door Johnny), who produced Grade 1 winner Ends Well (Lyphard) and Grade 2 hero Fred Astaire (Nijinsky II). Late Bloomer and her full siblings, Grade 2 winner Johnny Appleseed and multiple Grade 3 hero Late Act, were all produced by Broodmare of the Year Dunce Cap II (Tom Fool).
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