12/17/2012 2:33PM

Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity goes to Matabari


LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. - Five weeks after she got loose in the barn area and suffered a severe tongue injury that required many stitches, Matabari won California’s richest Quarter Horse race in Sunday’s $2,024,075 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity.

Ridden by Cruz Mendez, Matabari ($18.60) finished a nose in front of The August Heat, who was a nose in front of 2-1 favorite Freedom Choice in the field of 10. Matabari ran 400 yards in 19.68 seconds, earning $850,196 for owners Balgo Racing Team and Maryln Gonzalez.

Winning trainer Jose Antonio Flores said that Matabari got loose in the Los Alamitos barn area in early November and had suffered a tongue injury during the incident. It is believed she might have stepped on a lead shank, causing the attached chain to cut deeply into her tongue.
She was able to run in time trials for the Los Alamitos Two Million on Nov. 25, winning her division by 1 1/2 lengths.

In Sunday’s final, Matabari dueled for the early lead with The August Heat and prevailed in a tight photo. Freedom Choice, the fastest qualifier, was as far back as fourth early but closed well to just miss.

Matabari has won 3 of 5 starts and $857,026.