As usual, the Matriarch and the Hollywood Derby are the last two races and biggest attractions in Hollywood Park’s Autumn Turf Festival.
However, both Grade I races have a different look in 2003. The $500,000 Matriarch, which was shortened from 1 1/4 to 1 1/8 miles in 1999, has been cut to a mile, while the purse for the Derby has been increased from $500,000 to $600,000. The race has also been lengthened from 1 1/8 to 1 1/4 miles.
Both races have 14 entrants. The Matriarch is the sixth race and the second leg of a pick six with a guaranteed pool of $1 million. The Derby goes as the ninth.
Etoile Montante, making her U.S. debut, is the 7-2 morning-line favorite in the Matriarch. Jerry Bailey will ride her, and also the lukewarm 4-1 choice in the Derby, Senor Swinger.
Race of the day: Kewen, who was third in the Bay Meadows Derby on Nov. 1, will try the main track for the first time in today’s eighth at Hollywood Park. The $46,000 allowance at 1 1/8 miles also lured Snorter, who won in his California bow for trainer Bobby Frankel on Oct. 18, Tiz a Coup, Menuhin, Arbitrate, Hell Cat, Ender’s Shadow and Sanky Panky.
One for the road: Wildstella is a first-time starter in today’s sixth at Aqueduct for a trainer (Billy Turner Jr.) who wins with his fair share of rookies. The 2-year-old Forest Wildcat filly has some solid drills at Belmont Park and is out of a dam (Stella Cielo) who has produced two winners. Apprentice Tim Thornton has the mount in the seven-furlong affair.
Exotically speaking: Late doubles from Stanley Park in the ninth to Purple Toi, Blue Cay and Shadowy in the 10th.
Winners: Previous day/meet total: 1/43. Money: Previous day/meet total: $6.40/$212.80. Total money bet: $240.