2023 Matriarch Stakes & Cecil B. DeMille Odds

Del Mar closes its doors for the winter after Sunday’s action and the track goes out on a high with the feature G1 2023 Matriarch Stakes, in which G1 winner Whitebeam and G3 winner Surge Capacity head a quartet of Chad Brown horses as the trainer bids for a fourth successive victory in the race. The undercard is led by the G3 Cecil B. DeMille, a good opportunity for Lord Bullingdon to continue his progress up the ladder.


Matriarch Stakes

G1 – purse $300,000 – 1m – turf – 3yo+ females – 3.25pm PT

Del Mar is just about as far as you can get from New York, but Chad Brown has made a point of sending horses west for this meet and has won the Matriarch five times in the last six years. He goes looking for a fourth straight win in Sunday’s feature with a quartet of major players.

The morning-line leans towards Whitebeam, who upset the short-field 2023 G1 Diana at Saratoga over a mile-eighth when grinding out a nose victory, with barnmate Fluffy Socks last of five. She would be a heavier chalk were it not for her subsequent eclipse in the 2023 G1 First Lady at Keeneland, when she was closer to the pace than normal and came up empty, fading into fourth.

It would be no surprise to see her rebound, while Fluffy Socks is not a career winner – one-for-ten since early 2022 – but is usually on the scene and, like Whitebeam, will appreciate the likely pace to run at.

Brown also sends the late-running Surge Capacity, winner of the 2023 G3 Valley View at Keeneland over a mile, and Beaute Cachee, who was a half-length ahead of Fluffy Socks when they ran two-three in a stakes at Aqueduct last time. The market is probably no help to bettors, as seasoned Brown-watchers know he is as likely to win with his longshot as he is with his chalk.

The local defence is headed by Closing Remarks, who is peaking at the age of five, won two G2s here in the summer over slightly longer distances, and then nailed the 2023 G2 Goldikova at Santa Anita over a mile. She also rallied late – like several in this race – to thwart Queen Goddess by a half-length, with early leader Hamwood Flier – a well-beaten fourth in this race 12 months ago – two and a half lengths back in third.

Queen Goddess was coming off a five-month layoff there and will be sharper now, and her tendency to race forwardly could be a positive with so many closers in opposition.

The progressive Ruby Nell turned in a career-best when going coast-to-coast for an easy score in the 2023 G3 Autumn Miss at Santa Anita over a mile. She was ten lengths clear at halfway before being closed down and should be on the front end again, although it will be much harder to stay away in this better grade.

Wakanaka also ships from the east coast but is zero-for-six in 2023 and seems to have plateaued, while French G3 winner Elounda Queen made no show in the 2023 G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on her debut Stateside. She makes her first start for Phil D’Amato but may need more time.

2023 Matriarch Stakes Odds

Chad Brown is in the box seat and perhaps WHITEBEAM is the one, a G1 winner who may have had an excuse last time and looks ready to rebound.

HorseJockeyOdds by JazzSports
Elounda QueenHector Berrios +3000
Hamwood FlierAntonio Fresu +1200
Surge CapacityJoel Rosario +800
Gracelund GrayMike Smith +2000
WhitebeamFlavien Prat +300
Beaute CacheeUmberto Rispoli +800
Ruby NellEdwin Maldonado +800
Queen GoddessLuis Saez +400
Elm DriveRamon Vazquez +2000
Fluffy SocksIrad Ortiz +500
Closing RemarksJuan Hernandez +600
WakanakaJamie Spencer +1500

Cecil B. DeMille Stakes

G3 – purse $100,000 – 1m – turf – 2yo – 2.25pm PT

Potential rather than proven ability is the watchword of the Cecil B. DeMille, with just one stakes-winner in the field taking on opposition that are seeking to move up from maiden success.

That stakes-winner is the chalk Lord Bullingdon, who actually got off the mark on that stakes breakthrough, coming through from the back to win going away by three and three-quarter lengths over the Santa Anita mile.

His graduation had been in the post, as three starts ago he hit the place in the 2023 G3 Del Mar Juvenile Turf over course and distance on his stakes debut, again moving through late without landing a glove on the winner but clear second-best. The winner won another G3 on his next outing and Lord Bullingdon sets a high standard.

Stay Hot was frozen out in the 2023 G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, tenth of 11, but had earned his place in the championship event with an impressive success in a mile maiden at Santa Anita. This is considerable class relief from his last start and he is a major player.

His profile is similar to Just A Guess, 11th of 12 on his stakes debut at Santa Anita in a state-bred affair after breaking his maiden at the same track over a mile, rallying hard. This step up might be a step too far for now.

Fellow Santa Anita mile maiden winner Miracle Mark got his score when going gate-to-wire, his first time on the lead and likely to be a tactic that is repeated. There may not be a lot of speed here and it could be a key factor.

It is substantial class relief and a surface switch for Rothschild, who was beaten a city block in the 2023 G1 American Pharoah at Santa Anita and the 2023 G1 Del Mar Futurity. He won a sprint maiden here on the main track and perhaps turf is the answer; there are worse alternatives to the chalk.

This is a big move up in distance for Always On Cay, who won his maiden here over six furlongs and dropped down to five last time, making the show in an allowance when beaten three-quarters of a length, the same margin ahead of Invincible in fourth. Of course the extra yardage may wring improvement from them both, but the class issue could be a more relevant factor.

Conversely, Deadpan is cutting back slightly after breaking his duck at the second attempt over a mile-sixteenth at Keeneland. He only made it home by a neck and may not want to go any further anyway, and he has more scope for improvement than several of his rivals.

2023 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes Odds

Sometimes the straightforward option is best and LORD BULLINGDON is just that, coming here on the crest of a wave with no class issues to overcome.

HorseJockeyOdds by JazzSports
RothschildRamon Vazquez +1200
Miracle MarkDiego Herrera +500
Just A GuessMario Gutierrez +1200
Lord BullingdonUmberto Rispoli +250
InvincibleJoel Rosario +600
Charge For GoldRicardo Gonzalez +3000
DeadpanFlavien Prat +600
Always On CayMike Smith +600
Stay HotAntonio Fresu +300

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