With prep under her belt, Queen Goddess ready for Grade 1 Matriarch

With prep under her belt, Queen Goddess ready for Grade 1 Matriarch

By: Steve Andersen DRF

For a mare who had not started in five months, Queen Goddess gave a stellar performance to finish a close second in the Grade 2 Goldikova Stakes at Santa Anita on Nov. 5.

The $200,000 race was a good prize of its own, but was considered a prep for Queen Goddess for Sunday’s Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes for fillies and mares at a mile on turf at Del Mar.

“In our opinion, she ran too good to lose in the Goldikova after a layoff,” said Aron Wellman, the president of Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners, which co-owns Queen Goddess.

“She pressed a wicked pace and just got tagged on the wire.”

Queen Goddess was supplemented to the $300,000 Matriarch when entries were taken on Thursday.

She rates as a contender in a tough running of the race on the final day of the Del Mar autumn meeting. Los Alamitos begins a two-week December meeting on Dec. 8, followed by the start of the winter-spring meeting at Santa Anita on Dec. 26.

The Matriarch field is expected to include such runners as Closing Remarks, who won the Goldikova, the 3-year-old stakes winner Ruby Nell, and four runners trained by Chad Brown – Beaute Cachee, Fluffy Socks, Surge Capacity, and Whitebeam.

Brown, who is based in New York, has won five of the last six runnings of the Matriarch.

Trainer Phil D’Amato has three candidates in Elm Drive, Elounda Queen, and Hamwood Flier, who is likely to set the pace.

Queen Goddess, trained by Michael McCarthy and co-owned by Gary Barber, has been beaten in three starts since a win in the Grade 3 Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Invitational at Gulfstream Park last January.

Queen Goddess was given a summer vacation after finishing third by a length as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade 1 Gamely Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf for fillies and mares at Santa Anita in May.

The $500,000 Pegasus World Cup Filly and Mare Invitational on Jan. 27 is on Queen Goddess’ schedule again this winter.

“Right now, our primary goals are the Matriarch, Pegasus,” Wellman said. “She’s had a funky schedule the last couple of seasons because she’s required time off in the middle of the year.”

The 5-year-old Queen Goddess has won 5 of 14 starts and earned $857,080 since her career began in the summer of 2021. She won the most prestigious race of her career in the Grade 1 American Oaks at 1 1/4 miles in December 2021 at Santa Anita. The race was scheduled for turf but was transferred to dirt because of wet conditions.

A win in the Matriarch Stakes would be the fifth stakes win for Queen Goddess, and first in a Grade 1 on turf.

“We want to go for the Grade 1 on the turf to compliment her Grade 1 on the dirt,” Wellman said.

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