11/28/2014 1:47PM

Discreet Marq returns to scene of biggest triumph for Matriarch Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Discreet Marq scores in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in August 2013.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The biggest win of Discreet Marq’s career came here at Del Mar in the summer of 2013 in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks, so it only made sense that after a campaign in New York and Kentucky this year, she was sent west again for her final start of 2014 in the Grade 1, $300,000 Matriarch Stakes on Sunday.

Sunday marks the final day of this successful, and brief, 15-day fall meeting at Del Mar. The Matriarch drew a field of eight, though trainer Mark Casse said his intention was to run Lexie Lou on Saturday in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby.

The Matriarch is the first Grade 1 race on turf at Del Mar for which Discreet Marq was eligible since that Del Mar Oaks. She has performed well in top company all year, with a second-place finish in the Jenny Wiley at Keeneland and a third in the Diana at Saratoga, but her lone victory in six starts this year came against fellow New York-breds last time out in the Ticonderoga at Belmont Park on Oct. 18.

“It obviously was not a Grade 1, but she ran very impressively,” trainer Christophe Clement said at Del Mar on Friday. “She’s been unlucky in some of her races this year. She ran a very good race in the Diana, a very good race in the Jenny Wiley.”

Discreet Marq, a winner of 7 of 19 starts and a little more than $1 million, was owned by her breeder, Patricia Generazio, through the Ticonderoga. Earlier this month, she was sold at Fasig-Tipton for $2.4 million to another client of Clement’s, the Moyglare Stud of Eva Maria Bucher-Haefner. She is the daughter of Moyglare’s late founder, Walter Haefner.

According to Clement, Discreet Marq is scheduled to remain in training next year at age 5 after a winter freshening in Florida.


Discreet Marq (Last 3 Beyers: 96-94-95)

Though she’s remarkably consistent, she did not perform at her best when sixth in the First Lady at Keeneland in her race before last, the most recent time she was in Grade 1 company. “She ran below par,” Clement acknowledged.

The First Lady, though, has proven to be a key race. Discreet Marq won the Ticonderoga, and, more significantly, Dayatthespa came out of the First Lady to win the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, runner-up Better Lucky was second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, and third-place finisher Filimbi won the Goldikova.

She should get a perfect stalking trip under Irad Ortiz Jr.

La Tia (Last 3 Beyers: 93-89-93)

She is the one to catch, having used her speed to score a trio of front-running victories this year, most recently in the Grade 3 Athenia at Belmont Park on Oct. 12.

Joel Rosario, who once ruled over the jockeys here, makes what these days is an all-too-infrequent visit to Del Mar to ride La Tia.

Strathnaver (Last 3 Beyers: 95-92-95)

She crossed the wire third, then was moved to second after a disqualification, when chasing Filimbi in the Goldikova last time out at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

She and Discreet Marq have met twice this year. In the Diana, she was sixth, and Discreet Marq third, and in the Just a Game, she was second, with Discreet Marq fourth.

Her trainer, Graham Motion, said this would be the career finale for Strathnaver.

Queen of The Sand (Last 3 Beyers: 84-87-92)

She won the local prep for this, the Kathryn Crosby, is unbeaten in two starts on this course, and is 3 for 3 when ridden by Mike Smith.