Matron: Awesome Maria holds on

ELMONT, N.Y. -- As confident as trainer Stanley Hough was that Discreetly Mine would run well in the Grade 2 Futurity for juvenile colts Saturday at Belmont Park, he was even more steadfast in his belief that his filly Awesome Maria would run a strong race in the Grade 2 Matron for juvenile fillies.

One race after Discreetly Mine finished second to odds-on favorite D' Funnybone in the Futurity, Awesome Maria lived up to Hough's expectations by scoring a 2 3/4-length victory in the $250,000 Matron. Touching Beauty finished second, by a nose over Worship the Moon.

Worstcasescenario, the 4-5 favorite based on her win in the Grade 2 Adirondack, was eased in the stretch by jockey Alan Garcia, finishing ahead of only Babai Baby, who also was eased. Garcia told trainer Rick Violette that Worstcasescenario "took a funny step going into turn," Violette said. "She looks alright so far at the test barn, but obviously something's not right.''

Meanwhile, everything went right for Awesome Maria, who under Cornelio Velasquez stalked Southern Truth from second through fractions of 22.57 seconds and 45.20 before taking over just outside the eighth pole. Awesome Maria, a daughter or Maria's Mon out of the unraced Awesome Again mare Discreetly Awesome, covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.07 and returned $9.50 as the second choice.

"She broke good, she stayed in her position close to the pace," Velasquez said. "At the three-eighths pole, I asked her and I have a lot of horse. She'll run all day."

"Everything she's done, I really love this filly," said Hough, who trains Awesome Maria for Joyce Robsham. "She'd act like she'd go on; she's got a great mind. I've been a little partial to her than even the colt, but there's nothing wrong with him."

Hough thought Awesome Maria would actually come from further back, but the pace was moderate so he didn't mind being where Velasquez had her.

"I thought there was more speed in there than there came to be, so she was right there," Hough said. "She's kind of got one pace to her, but fortunately it's a pretty good pace."

Hough said he's inclined to run Awesome Maria back in the Grade 1 Frizette here on Oct. 10.