Such is the depth of the Chad Brown barn that not only did his Viadera and Blowout fight out the finish in Sunday’s $301,500 Matriarch Stakes (G1), but neither was regarded as his best chance. Although his 2.20-1 favorite Tamahere didn’t make an impact, Brown still had the firepower to dominate the finale to Del Mar’s Turf Festival.
The improving Viadera, a record seventh Matriarch winner for Juddmonte Farms, also mugged Blowout in their prior start in the Sept. 26 Noble Damsel (G3) at Belmont Park. Blowout had nearly pulled off a wire job in fast time that day. She worked out a different type of trip in the Matriarch, only to endure the same result – a brutal beat at the hands of her stablemate.
Blowout intended to set the pace again, zipping ahead through an opening quarter in :22.62 on the firm course. But Juliet Foxtrot made an aggressive move to take the lead on the backstretch. Blowout’s rider, Flavien Prat, let her rival sprint away in :45.63 and 1:09.37.
Renewing her efforts down the lane, Blowout began to wear down Juliet Foxtrot. The classy sophomore Sharing was trying to lift on the outside, but the 3.30-1 second choice couldn’t quite go on.
That opened the door for Viadera to charge through for Joel Rosario. As the 9-2 Blowout gamely reached for the wire, the 5-1 Viadera nailed her in time while completing the mile in 1:33.03. That’s by far a new stakes record since the Matriarch was transferred to Del Mar in 2014.
“Whew! I had to work for that one,” Rosario said of Viadera’s last-gasp lunge. “She’s a good filly, a really good filly. But she makes you work. I had to stay after her. She can run, though, there’s no doubt. I’m lucky that Chad Brown gives me an opportunity like this. Grass horses and especially fillies. He’s the best.”
Juddmonte’s first six Matriarchs had come at the race’s original home, Hollywood Park. Wandesta (1996), Ryafan (1997), Heat Haze (2003), Intercontinental (2004), and Price Tag (2006) all won for the late Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel. Ventura (2009) would have as well, but her victory came shortly after Frankel passed away, when assistant Humberto Ascanio had succeeded him at the helm. The Juddmonte-Matriarch connection is appropriately reignited with Brown, a Frankel protégé.
Juliet Foxtrot, also a Juddmonte homebred from the Brad Cox barn, finished third in the Matriarch for the second year in a row. She was closer this time, just a half-length off Blowout.
Sharing kept on for fourth in a sweep of the superfecta for the shippers. Maxim Rate was best of the West Coast in fifth. Tamahere, the other 3-year-old filly besides Sharing, likewise found her first assignment versus elders tough in sixth. She’s Our Charm and Bodhicitta rounded out the field, and Mucho Unusual was scratched.
British-bred Viadera was initially trained by Ger Lyons in Ireland. As a juvenile, the Curragh debut winner was runner-up to the useful colt Marie’s Diamond in the 2018 Anglesey (G3). Viadera added two wins to her ledger in 2019, a premier handicap back at the Curragh as well as the Cairon Rouge at Killarney, but was exported after failing to progress further. In her U.S. premiere in the June 6 Intercontinental (G3) (honoring the aforementioned Juddmonte champion), the 4-year-old was a non-threatening fourth to stablemate Newspaperofrecord at a yielding Belmont.
But Viadera has since won three straight, a sequence commencing in the July 17 De La Rose at Saratoga, and her resume reads 13-6-1-1, $391,500. She’s the third to turn the Noble Damsel/Matriarch double for Brown, following Off Limits (2017) and Uni (2018).
A daughter of Bated Breath, Viadera is a three-quarter sister to multiple stakes scorer and Group 2-placed Crossed Baton (by Bated Breath’s sire, Dansili). Their dam, the Beat Hollow mare Sacred Shield, hails from the immediate family of Juddmonte notables Twice Over, Passage of Time (dam of Time Test), and Timepiece.
The Matriarch capped a successful Turf Festival for the barn. Brown runners also plundered the Red Carpet (G3) (Orglandes), Jimmy Durante (G3) (Fluffy Socks), and Hollywood Derby (G1) (Domestic Spending).
Cecil B. DeMille Stakes
Brown did not have an entrant in Sunday’s undercard stakes, the $100,000 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (G3) for juveniles. Yet the California form was still upended, in this case by Indiana Grand expat Beer Can Man at odds of 19-1.
The winner of his past two sprinting on turf, Beer Can Man was stepping up in both class and distance for new connections – Little Red Feather Racing, Sterling Stables, and trainer Mark Glatt. The son of Can the Man was expected to be part of the early pace scrum. Once Commander Khai blasted to the front, however, Beer Can Man settled into an inside stalking role for jockey Juan Hernandez. Angling out in a textbook move into the stretch, Beer Can Man struck the front and held Caisson by a half-length.
Commander Khai reported home another length back in third. Ebeko got up for fourth, while 9-5 favorite Royal Prince was seventh and Wootton Asset trailed the 11-horse field.
Beer Can Man, previously trained by Tommy Short for breeder Ron Patterson, has earned $100,580 from a 5-3-0-0 line.
“We’ve had him about six weeks,” Glatt said. “We entered him the first weekend of the (Del Mar) meeting, thinking we could run then and then come back in this race. But that race didn’t go. So (the owners) told me to get him ready to go a mile. I was a little skeptical to be honest, but the horse relaxed great, Juan put a nice ride on him, and he got the money.”
“One jump out of there, he came (back) to me,” Hernandez said. “He settled real well. I just found me spot tracking the leaders and I was happy. At the quarter pole I asked him to go and he did. He really fired. He didn’t want to let horses go past him, either. He’s a nice horse.”
The Kentucky-bred is out of the Dynaformer mare Cheesecake. His second dam, Lemon Meringue, is a Lemon Drop Kid half-sister to Grade 2 vixen and noted producer Class Kris, whose offspring include multiple Grade 1-winning millionaire Student Council. Other relatives include Don’t Get Mad and Wicked Strong.