65-1 longshot Storm Lucy pays $132.80 in Matriarch win at Del Mar
Trainer Ed Moger Jr. had been waiting 40 years.
Stormy Lucy, a 6-year-old mare, had been waiting 30 races.
On Sunday, both collected their first Grade I victories in the $300,000 Matriach Stakes on the final day of the Del Mar Bing Crosby Season meet.
The victory came with huge payoffs in every wager associated with the one-mile race on the Jimmy Durante Turf Course as Stormy Lucy went off at 65-1 and paid $132.80 to win.
“I can’t remember one like this,” said winning jockey Kent Desormeaux. “Never been involved in one in a stakes like this. Boxcars. Amazing.”
In a supporting feature, Dressed in Hermes ($9.40) and jockey Mike Smith collaborated to win the $101,750 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes for 2-year-olds.
Moger hadn’t even planned on running in the Matriarch. Earlier this fall, Stormy Lucy, who has now earned $771,700, was scheduled to run in the Breeders’ Cup in Lexington, Ky., and then be sold the next week at the Keeneland fall sale. However, Stormy Lucy didn’t get into the Breeders’ Cup so it was time for Plan B.
“She was doing great and she’s such a good horse,” said Moger, who trains Stormy Lucy for his brother, Steve. “When you’ve got a good horse you’ve always got a chance. We’ve been trying to get a Grade I win for her all year.”
The race’s complexion changed out of the gate when Hard Not to Like, the 7-2 second choice, stumbled badly at the break under jockey John Velazquez to lose her chance.
Stormy Lucy moved into contention from between horses entering the stretch, took aim on the leading Recepta and responded generously to wear down that rival and win by a head in 1 minute 35.16 seconds for the mile grass.
Filimbi, the 5-2 favorite, was third, 1 1/2 in back of Recepta, with long shot Queen of The Sand fourth in the field of 14 runners.
“She ran huge; huge,” said Desormeaux. "[Ed] told me she doesn’t switch leads. But she did today. She sure did. Terrific race for her.”
Stormy Lucy and Recepta were bobbing heads down the stretch, but the daughter of Stormy Atlantic prevailed.
“A perfect trip for her,” said Recepta’s jockey Elvis Trujillo, who previously rode in Southern California before moving back East this year. “She ran really well. No complaints.”
Hard Not to Like, who finished ninth, was the pick of many handicappers off her East Coast form for trainer Christophe Clement. Velazquez, who flew in from New York to ride her, had no idea what happened at the start of the race.
“She was ready for the break,” said Velazquez. “I don’t know why she stumbled like she did.”
In the Cecil B. DeMille, trainer Janet Armstrong picked up her first Del Mar stakes victory when Dressed in Hermes crossed the finish line first.
Dressed in Hermes was coming off a fifth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
“He’s filled out since he traveled [to Breeders’ Cup and back],” said Armstrong. “He’s filled out more, has more weight and more muscle, which is really a good thing. During the stretch run, I really thought he was going to make it. He’s such a nice horse.”
Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith rode the winner after Gary Stevens elected to ride Canada in one-mile race on the grass.
“Janet just said ride him with confidence,” said Smith. “She said he might do best to lay fourth or fifth and then he should come running. She was right. I just had to guide him around there. He wants to run on, this horse. I had a hard time pulling him up after the race. Had a hard time pulling him up going into the winner’s circle. He’ll run on. He’s got a lot of good energy.”
Armstrong said Dressed in Hermes has earned a little vacation and will be pointed to the dirt in his next race to see if he might end up on the Kentucky Derby trail.
“We’ll give him a little time off now and probably come back at the end of January,” said Armstrong. “We’ll probably try the dirt next. Just don’t know where or which one.”
Thanks in large part to Stormy Lucy, there were no tickets with six or five winners in the pick six. There were 92 tickets with four winners and each paid $2,120.
•Despite not having a winner Sunday, Rafael Bejarano won the jockey’s title, edging Santiago Gonzalez, 20-18.
•When Doug O’Neill won the fifth race with Ike Walker ($7), he all but clinched the training title. O’Neill finished with 15 wins while Phil D’Amato and Carlsbad’s Peter Miller tied for second with 13 victories each.
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