09/17/2005 12:00AM

Folklore proves for real in Matron

Email
Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Folklore has an easy time winning the Matron. The favorite, India, hit her head on the starting gate.

ELMONT, N.Y. - Always consistent but never before brilliant, Folklore broke through Saturday with a smashing 14-length victory in the Grade 1, $300,000 at Belmont Park.

Longshot Miss Norman rallied from well back to be second by a head over Along the Sea. Halo Humor, River's Prayer, Fifth Avenue, and India, the even-money favorite, completed the order of finish.

Along the Sea broke through her stall doors before the starting gate opened. She was quickly caught by an outrider and reloaded. India, who was inside of Along the Sea, hit her head on the gate, but her door did not open. India had blood coming from her mouth, but was allowed to run after having been backed out of the gate and reloaded.

When the gates opened for real, Folklore broke on top but was quickly reined in by jockey Edgar Prado, who allowed India and Halo Humor to duel through an opening quarter-mile in 21.96 seconds. India was finished around the turn and Folklore assumed the lead leaving the three-eighths pole.

Folklore gradually increased her advantage and was hit only once left-handed by Prado. Folklore, a daughter of Tiznow owned by Bob and Beverly Lewis and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, covered the seven furlongs in 1:23.70 and returned $7 as the second choice. Her final time was .35 of a second faster than Private Vow's final time in the Futurity one race later.

It was the ninth victory in the Matron for Lukas, who was in Kentucky to saddle several horses on the Kentucky Cup card.

Folklore had been first or second in her five previous races. She won the Grade 2 Adirondack on opening day at Saratoga and was second to Adieu in the Grade 2 Spinaway at the Spa. She was never sharper than she was on Saturday.

"I was surprised to see her rate like this," said Peter Hutton, a Lukas assistant. "She can be heavy-headed at times."

Said Prado: "She was jumping out of her skin in the post parade; she was ready to run today. She came back to me no problem and she was waiting for me to tell her what to do. I hit her one time too many."

Jockey John Velazquez said he should have scratched India after the gate incident because "she got real nervous in the gate."

"She's never been like that," he said. "She ran for a quarter of a mile and didn't put up a good fight."