10/11/2011 12:16PM

Keeneland: Matz sends out another BC contender in Jessamine

Email
Shigeki Kikkawa
Emerald Gold ran third in the Del Mar Debutante

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Michael Matz has an unbeaten 2-year-old colt for the Breeders’ Cup, so how about an unbeaten filly for it, too?

Matz got a tremendous thrill last weekend when Union Rags stamped himself as the likely favorite for the BC Juvenile by remaining undefeated with a romping victory in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park, and the widely admired trainer might be in a position for something similar Thursday at Keeneland, where he will send out Somali Lemonade as a major contender in the Grade 3, $150,000 Jessamine Stakes for 2-year-old fillies.

Somali Lemonade, with Alex Solis aboard, was a flashy winner of a maiden race over the Belmont turf in her career debut last month and will be one of the favorites Thursday in the Jessamine, a fees-paid Win and You’re In event earning the winner a spot in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf.

BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Racing schedule, replays, and past winners »

“She broke her maiden the right way,” said Matz. “I thought she did it pretty impressively. She got out of the gate a little slow, and Alex just sat on her before asking her to run. Alex came back really excited about her, and that got me excited.”

Solis, in from New York, will be back aboard Somali Lemonade when they break from post 2 in the oversubscribed field in the Jessamine. A host of other promising fillies should make for a highly competitive renewal of this 1 1/16-mile turf fixture, with Emerald Gold and Sweet Cat being other top challengers in a race programmed with 14 horses, including two also-eligibles.

Emerald Gold (post 11, Garrett Gomez) is listed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite after starting her career with three sprints on synthetics, ending with a third-place run in the Sept. 3 Del Mar Debutante.

“She came running in that last race, and the winner wasn’t getting away from her,” said trainer Tom Proctor. “I think the farther she goes, the better off she’s going to be. She has a nice turf pedigree, which is a main reason we went in here instead of the Alcibiades last weekend. I also thought turf would be her best chance to make the Breeders’ Cup.”

Sweet Cat (post 9, John Velazquez) has changed owners, but not trainers, since winning a Sept. 1 maiden turf route at Saratoga. Todd Pletcher sold the filly to the Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners while getting to keep her in his barn.

Three stakes winners also are in the Jessamine lineup: Charming Vixen, Slip Along Band, and Soonerette.

One of the longshots is Dream Pegasus (post 6, Manoel Cruz), whose trainer, Ken McPeek, won the last two runnings of the Jessamine with House of Grace (2009) and Kathmanblu (2010). Dream Pegasus will be getting first-time Lasix on Thursday.

The Jessamine, sponsored by JP Morgan Chase, goes as the eighth of nine races on a Thursday card that also includes three allowances, including races that drew such stakes winners as Ravi’s Song (race 2) and Dancinginherdreams (race 7). First post is 1:15 p.m. Eastern, with the Jessamine going at 4:52.