10/16/2016 5:00PM

Arella Rockstar proves wise claim by winning Matron

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Arella Rockstar, making her first start since she was claimed for $50,000, upsets the Matron under Luis Saez.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Owner Bob Edwards and trainer Rudy Rodriguez were interested in claiming a 2-year-old filly out of the 10th race at Saratoga on Aug. 31. Arella Rockstar was not the one they originally had their eye on.

But when the one they wanted failed to impress, Edwards and Rodriguez looked elsewhere and liked what they saw from Arella Rockstar, a 2-year-old daughter of Astrology, so they dropped in the slip for $50,000. She was one of four fillies claimed out of that race.

It turned out to be a shrewd purchase as Arella Rockstar, who won that day by 2 3/4 lengths, came back to win again, this time gutting out a three-quarter length victory over 3-5 favorite Cherry Lodge in Sunday’s Grade 3, $200,000 Matron Stakes at Belmont Park.

The victory was one of four on the day at Belmont for Rodriguez, who leapfrogged Chad Brown in the trainer standings. Rodriguez leads Brown, 22-19, heading into the final two weeks of the Belmont fall meet.

It has been quite the fall for Edwards, who races under the name e Five Racing Thoroughbreds and two weeks ago won the Grade 3 Miss Grillo with New Money Honey, who is headed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

“Beginner’s luck,” said Edwards, who is in his first year owning Thoroughbreds. “It’s a total team effort. Mike Ryan is my bloodstock agent, the horses go to Stonestreet, and they’re trained by some of the best trainers in the country.”

Edwards uses Chad Brown and Steve Asmussen in addition to Rodriguez.

Edwards said he liked the way Arella Rockstar walked in the Saratoga paddock that late August afternoon.

“I said ‘Listen, you like it, let’s roll the dice.’ ” Rodriguez said. “He got the ticket, filled it out and got it going.”

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Rodriguez was thinking about running Arella Rockstar in a starter allowance either here or in Maryland, but when the Matron was coming up light on numbers he put her in the entries.

Breaking from post 3 under Luis Saez, Arella Rockstar got bumped from both sides by Amapola and Cherry Lodge.

Arella Rockstar chased Amapola and basically raced between that horse and Cherry Lodge through a quarter-mile in 22.04 seconds and a half-mile in 45.61.

In upper stretch, Amapola gave way, but Cherry Lodge, the heavy favorite under John Velazquez was poised to pounce from the outside But Arella Rockstar fought back and outfinished Cherry Lodge to earn the victory.

Arella Rockstar covered the six furlongs in 1:11.68 and returned $27.20 to win.

“She shows a lot of courage, the other horse looked like she was going to pull away from her and then she come back again,” Rodriguez said. “To see her doing that is very encouraging. She doesn’t show much in the morning but when she hooks up with company she shows a little more talent.”