11/23/2012 1:18PM

Klein: European-raced runners figure in both Matriarch and Hollywood Derby

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Future Generation will face her toughest test since being imported to the U.S. in Sunday's Grade 1 Matriarch at Hollywood Park.

If you enjoy watching Grade 1 turf stakes races, you’ll want to pay attention to Betfair Hollywood Park on Sunday. The Grade 1 Matriarch, and the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby both figure to be interesting races.

The Matriarch is the fifth race, a $250,000 turf race for fillies and mares going one mile.

Future Generation hasn’t yet raced at this class level. She won the Group 3 Desmond at Leopardstown five races ago. In her first U.S. start last February, she defeated $100,000 optional claimers at Gulfstream Park. The race also was her return from a 5 1/2-month layoff.

She was made the 3-2 favorite in the Grade 2 Honey Fox in her next start, but she finished fourth, then spent more than seven months on the sidelines. The time off made a big difference. In her comeback win in the Serena’s Cat at Belmont Park in October, she tracked the leaders in third, assumed command easily, then opened up a 5 3/4-length lead without being asked for much. The seven-furlong Serena’s Cat is only a minor turf stakes with an $80,000 purse, but Future Generation earned a 95 Beyer Speed Figure for her performance, a slightly better number than any of her opponents earned in their recent turf races, and she appears to be ready to improve on it in her second race after the vacation.

Emulous had better form in Ireland than Future Generation. Last year, she won two of three starts against Group 3 rivals, then won the Group 1 Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron at Leopardstown. She began 2012 with a Group 3 win at The Curragh, finished seventh as the favorite in the Group 2 Windsor Forest at Ascot, then tried to repeat in the Coolmore Fusaichi Pegasus Matron. She reared at the start, but still finished third, only a half-length behind the winner. The question is whether or not she can match that form in her first U.S. start.

Dayatthespa deserves consideration. A 3-year-old, she led throughout and then drew away late to win the 1 1/8-mile Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup on turf at Keeneland. The catch is that she enjoyed an easy trip while coasting on a clear lead through a slow early pace, which boosted her late kick. She’ll be a factor if she continues to improve in her third race after a 4 1/2-month rest, but she’ll have to set a faster pace to grab the early lead in this field. She showed that she is willing to rate behind an early leader two races ago. A return to those tactics can help as she tackles older rivals for the first time.

Tiz Flirtatious has won four of five career starts, with her lone defeat being a third-place finish in the Grade 2 La Canada. She’s 4 for 4 against California-breds, including a victory in the 6 1/2-furlong California Cup Distaff. She broke slowly and was last of 11 early. She rallied four wide to catch the leaders, then drew clear to win by 1 3/4 lengths. That was her return from a layoff of nearly nine months, so improvement is possible second time back. She’ll show more tactical speed against the slower fractions she’ll see at this distance.

Star Billing carved out the pace as a 38-1 longshot in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, then weakened and finished eighth of 11. She should be more effective in this spot.

Summer Soiree would be dangerous on her best day, but she has lost her last four races. She lost ground and/or position from midstretch to the finish in all of them.

Better Lucky and Vamo Galupiar must show more than they did in their two most recent races.

I’ll bet Future Generation to win. I’ll also box Future Generation with Emulous in the exacta.

Hollywood Derby

The Hollywood Derby is the ninth race, a 1 1/4-mile turf race with a $250,000 purse.

Unbridled Command has won four straight races, including the Grade 3 Saranac two starts ago. He was particularly impressive while dominating older New York-breds by 6 3/4 lengths in a facile win in the $175,000 Mohawk. He earned a 96 Beyer for that effort and might not need to run any faster to beat younger opponents Sunday. Nevertheless, he certainly seems capable of earning a triple-digit Beyer.

Golden Ticket ran an uncharacteristically strong race when he dead-heated for the win as a 33-1 longshot in the Grade 1 Travers two races ago. He finished third in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby two months ago and has trained well since that race.

Grandeur was far back for a half-mile, then made a sustained run to win the Grade 2 Twilight Derby more impressively than the half-length margin of victory suggests. He was going strongly late and should be ready for another good performance in his second U.S. race.

Speaking of Which appeared to be on his way to a win, but Grandeur flew past him in deep stretch. Speaking of Which should be able to improve in his second U.S. start, but Grandeur also is likely to do so.

Rjwa is a filly who finished second in the Group 1 Montjeu Coolmore Saint-Alary and third in the Group 1 Longines Prix de Diane-French Oaks. She’ll be dangerous if she likes this turf course.

I’ll bet Unbridled Command to win, and I’ll key him on top in the exacta over Golden Ticket, Grandeur, Speaking of Which, and Rjwa.