11/25/2012 7:18PM

Hollywood Park: Better Lucky upsets Matriarch Stakes at 35-1


INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Better Lucky recorded an upset win at 35-1 in Sunday’s $250,000 Matriarch Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park, a result that was almost as shocking as the unfortunate trip that ruined the chances of 8-5 favorite Dayatthespa.

Better Lucky closed from fourth in a field of eight fillies and mares to win the Grade 1 Matriarch Stakes over a mile on turf by a length over 7-1 Tiz Flirtatious. Dayatthespa could only finish fifth after an incident on the first turn when she propped and appeared to attempt to jump the inside rail. Jockey Javier Castellano was nearly unseated, but regained his balance and was able to continue the race.

Dayatthespa was beaten 4 1/4 lengths by Better Lucky ($72.20), who was timed in 1:34.18.

Dayatthespa entered the Matriarch on a five-race winning streak, all in stakes, dating back to the start of the year. Castellano said that Dayatthespa was intimidated by racing in close company just behind the pace.

“She was in a tight spot,” Castellano said. “She tried to jump the fence. It was a tough position for myself and the horse.”

Better Lucky, ridden by Eddie Castro, was fourth on the first turn, and was briefly steadied in the Dayatthespaa incident. Castro moved Better Lucky into third on the backstretch, chasing pacesetter Summer Soiree, who led by as many as 4 1/4 lengths after a half-mile in 46.09 seconds.

Better Lucky was still third on the turn, but moved up quickly to catch Summer Soiree in the final furlong.

“I had a nice position,” Castro said. “When I asked her, she gave me what she had. I think this is a good distance for her.”

Tiz Flirtatious, making her Grade 1 stakes debut, closed from seventh to finish 2 1/4 lengths in front of Summer Soiree. Emulous, a well-regarded European import, could only finish sixth.

Dayatthespa and Better Lucky were first and third in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on Oct. 13. Owned by Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Racing and trained by Tom Albertrani, Better Lucky won the Grade 2 Sands Point Stakes at Belmont Park in May and was later second in the Grade 2 Lake George Stakes and fifth in the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes, both at Saratoga.

Jimmy Bell, who represented Sheikh Mohammed at the Matriarch, said that Better Lucky is expected to stay in training for a 4-year-old campaign in 2013. By Ghostzapper, Better Lucky has won 4 of 9 starts and $438,950.

“I think she’ll be in training next year,” he said. “She’ll get a vacation down in Florida.

“She’s never been beaten far in any of her races.”