11/30/2008 1:00AM

Cocoa Beach runs down Precious Kitten


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Precious Kitten led by 1 1/2 lengths in the stretch of Sunday's $500,000 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park. She needed a bigger lead.

Cocoa Beach, second to the unbeaten Zenyatta in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic at Santa Anita on Oct. 24, rallied from sixth in the final quarter-mile to win the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes by three-quarters of a length over Precious Kitten. Visit finished third in the field of eight fillies and mares.

Ridden by Ramon Dominguez, Cocoa Beach ($5.80) ran a mile on turf in 1:35.49. Even though Dominguez had Cocoa Beach about three lengths behind Precious Kitten with a quarter-mile remaining, he said the deficit at that point was not a concern.

"I had so much horse all the way around," he said. "When I let her go, it took her a couple of strides. She took off and I felt like I had it won."

Precious Kitten, the defending champion of the Matriarch, set early fractions of 25.68 and 49.09 seconds. She was challenged early by Rosinka, who eventually finished seventh. Trainer Bobby Frankel said the Matriarch would likely be the final start for Precious Kitten, a 5-year-old who has won 8 of 25 starts and $1,912,543.

Cocoa Beach, a 4-year-old Chilean-bred filly, has won 9 of 12 starts and $1,651,141. Owned by Godolphin Racing and trained by Saeed bin Suroor, Cocoa Beach will stay in training in the United States in 2009.