MATRON STAKES | PURSE: $200,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD | FILLIES | GRADE 2 | 6 FURLONGS
Cal MacWilliam and Neil Teitelbaum's homebred Miss Behaviour proved best Sept. 29 in the six-furlong Matron Stakes at Belmont Park. The Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Jump Start covered the trip in 1:10.57, topping even-money choice Sweet Whiskey by a length in the $200,000 event for 2-year-old fillies.
Gracer was 1 3/4 lengths back in third, edging Court Dancer by a head.
Sweet Whiskey, with John Velazquez up, broke on top and sprinted clear to an early lead, tracked by Miss Behaviour. The opening quarter mile split was in a brisk :22.21. Sweet Whiskey was quickly joined by, and then passed, by Miss Behaviour who was hustled to the front under jockey Gary Cruise. She opened up on the field at the head of the lane after getting the half-mile in :44.48.
Miss Behaviour but got a little leg weary after hitting the eighth-pole in :56.83 in front by three lengths. But she had enough in the tank to hold off the re-rally of Sweet Whiskey in spite of a final furlong in 13.74 seconds.
"What a nice filly," said Cruise. "I anticipated that Johnny would be making the speed; his horse is very talented. I was quite happy she set the pace the way she did. When I dropped her in to be competitive a little bit, she just came into gear and said, 'Let's go.' At that time, I could kind of sense that no one was going to jump on us, so I said, 'Let's finish this now.' She's been a 10 out of 10 so far, and today she was about an 11. She's just a privilege to ride."
"I've always wanted to ride here," Cruise said after making his Belmont debut in the Matron. "What a privilege it is to come to New York, and not only to win a graded stakes but to win for such great people. This is like, I would imagine, like a player coming to Yankee Stadium for the first time; the history of the place. It's an honor to be here today."
The winner is trained by Phil Schoenthal and is unbeaten in three starts. She wired a group of state-bred maiden juvenile fillies at Parx Racing July 22 going five furlongs, then drew off to win the six-furlong Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park by 8 1/4 lengths Sept. 1. The $120,000 Matron first prize boosts her career earnings to $207,000.
"In this game, you learn to temper your expectations," said Schoenthal, who was winning his first graded stakes. "I didn't expect her to go to the front like that and open up. When she moved to the lead at the three-eighths pole, I said to myself, 'Don't run out of trainer, don't run out of trainer.' I'm sure we'll try her at two turns at some point, but she's a sprinter right now."
Miss Behaviour is the third foal out of the 10-year-old stakes-placed Successful Appeal mare Successful Romance. Her dam, Special Mistress, is the dam of two stakes winners including 1999 Cowdin Stakes winner Twilight Time. Successful Romance has has a yearling colt by Ghostzapper and was bred to both Langfuhr and Belong to Me for 2014.
Miss Behaviour paid $8, $3.50, and $2.40. Sweet Whiskey returned $2.60 and $2.10, and Gracer paid $2.30 to show. The 5-3 exacta paid $16.20. Court Dancer was followed by Ocean Boulevardand Art of the Game. Miss Narcissist was scratched.