The dirt sprint for sophomore fillies drew a field of seven, with Matareya favored at 11-10 off a blowout allowance win at Fair Grounds. Suffice to say, the Brad Cox trainee didn’t disappoint. Content to track early fractions of :22.87 and :46.61 set by Lady Scarlet, Matareya seized command when called upon by jockey Flavien Prat and powered away to win eased up by 8 1/2 lengths.
“She broke really well and rated nice. I was on cruise control all the way around,” Prat told Keeneland following the race. “Brad told me this morning that he really liked her, and he was right.”
Matareya stopped the timer in 1:27.55 over Keeneland’s unique distance of seven furlongs and 184 feet. In the process, she earned the winner’s share of 10-4-2-1 Kentucky Oaks qualification points dispersed among the top four finishers.
Radio Days, runner-up in the Forward Gal S. (G3) earlier this winter, rallied from the back of the pack to complete the exacta by a clear margin of Reagan’s Decision and Lady Scarlet. Majestic d’Oro, Gina Romantica, and Chi Town Lady completed the order of finish.
Bred and owned by Godolphin, Matareya went 1-for-4 as a juvenile, but she’s come to hand impressively in 2022 and boasts a 2-for-2 record this year. Even though Matareya is a daughter of Kentucky Derby (G1) runner-up Pioneerof the Nile out of a mare by Preakness S. (G1) winner Bernardini, her improvement has coincided with cutting back in distance and Cox doesn’t plan to stretch Matareya back out any time soon.
“We were hoping she’d go long,” said Cox. “She trained like she would. Flavien made the comment that he didn’t see why she wouldn’t. But she’s kind of shown us she enjoys the cutback, so we’ll probably stick to one turn for now.”
The Kentucky Oaks might be off the table for Matareya, but there are plenty of other major races on the horizon. When asked about targeting the Eight Belles S. (G2) at Churchill Downs or the Test S. (G1) at Saratoga, Cox agreed those would be logical targets.
“We obviously picked up a Grade 3 today. It’s huge for the pedigree and huge for the broodmare band at Godolphin, which is one of the best in the world. It was a big win, so we’ll let the dust settle and see how she comes out of it, but those are obviously races we’ll look forward to and try to work back from, and—who knows?—maybe try to get her to the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) here at Keeneland this fall.”