Updated on 09/16/2011 8:48AM

Dress to Thrill takes Matriarch

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Dress to Thrill wins the $500,000 Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood Park.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - An eighth-place finish by Dress to Thrill in the Breeders' Cup Mile at Arlington Park in October left trainer Dermot Weld unsatisfied. An upset victory by the Irish invader in Sunday's $500,000 at Hollywood Park, against a field that included top fillies Golden Apples and Banks Hills, left Weld convinced that the Dress to Thrill is one of the world's top turf females.

"This filly deserves what she got today," Weld said. "The Breeders' Cup was not a true reflection of her ability. I wanted people to see what she was capable of."

The lone 3-year-old in the field, Dress to Thrill ($16.60) outfinished Golden Apples through the final furlong to win her first Grade 1. The Matriarch Stakes was Dress to Thrill's fifth stakes win of the year, which includes three victories in Ireland and a Group 2 race in England, the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

Ridden by Pat Smullen, Dress to Thrill was fourth for much of the race, following pacesetters Affluent and Banks Hill who set fractions of 24.19 and 48.28 seconds. At the end of the backstretch, Dress to Thrill was fourth, racing within a length of the leaders. She was still fourth with a quarter-mile remaining, chasing Banks Hills, Affluent and Golden Apples, who were three-wide across the course.

Golden Apples took command in early stretch, but Dress to Thrill quickly produced a challenge. Racing on the outside, Dress to Thrill slowly caught Golden Apples, scoring by a head after 1 1-8 miles on turf in 1:48.31.

"We wanted to sit handy to the pace and keep Banks Hill and Golden Apples in the sights at all times," Weld said. "He had no option but to go wide."

Golden Apples was attempting to win her third Grade 1 of the year, and solidify her status as the nation's top older filly or mare on turf.

"It didn't go our way," trainer Ben Cecil said. "We had to lay a little closer because there wasn't a lot of pace."

Golden Apples finished 1 1-2 lengths in front of 31-1 Magic Mission, who was followed by Banks Hill (the 6-5 favorite), Affluent and Choc Ice.

Trainer Bobby Frankel took the blame for Banks Hill's fourth-place finish. "Bad instructions," he said. "I thought there would be no pace."

Dress to Thrill has won 6 of 9 starts and $586,125. Owned by Moyglare Stud, she is expected to stay in training on the East Coast with trainer Christophe Clement, according to Weld.