09/22/2006 11:00PM

Meadow Breeze produces $70.50 payoff in Matron

Meadow Breeze wins the Matron on Saturday at Belmont Park.

ELMONT, N.Y. - When Kent Desormeaux came to Belmont Park's paddock just prior to Saturday's Grade 1 , trainer Carl Deville told the Hall of Fame jockey not to look at the odds-board, but to just look at his filly, Meadow Breeze, and enjoy the ride.

Desormeaux did exactly that as he rode 34-1 longshot Meadow Breeze to a head victory over Featherbed and Octave, two Todd Pletcher-trained fillies who dead-heated for second in the $250,000 race for juvenile fillies. Cash's Girl finished fourth, followed by 6-5 favorite Magical Ride and Eternal Grace.

Meadow Breeze had run five times, winning a maiden race at Evangeline Downs and a first-level allowance race at Mountaineer Park. In her one prior start on this circuit, she finished second in the off-the-turf P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga.

When Edgar Prado decided to rein in the speedy Magical Ride in the early stages of the Matron, that left Featherbed, under John Velazquez, as the pacesetter with Meadow Breeze stalking. The early fractions were a reasonable 22.73 seconds for the opening quarter and 45.93 for the half-mile.

Featherbed turned for home with the lead, Meadow Breeze was to her outside, and Octave - the Adirondack winner - was coming up the rail. None of the trio was finishing particularly fast, and Meadow Breeze was drifting out but was still able to get the nod on the wire. She ran seven furlongs in 1.24.82 and returned $70.50.

"The supposed phenomenal amount of speed never materialized and I was hoping that's exactly what would happen," Desormeaux said. "This filly is so big, she didn't have that quick turn of foot but she outgamed them all the way down that last quarter-mile."

Deville said he was confident because his filly had fired two bullet works over Belmont's main track.

"She had been training really good up to this race; you have to have a little confidence in her, you know," said Deville, who trains Meadow Breeze for Wayne Barr. "She's a big good-looking filly and has a lot of talent."

Magical Ride looked good in her maiden win over this track and ran a decent third in the Adirondack at Saratoga. Trainer Rusty Arnold told jockey Edgar Prado to use his own judgment on where to be early in the race, and Prado opted to rate.

"He said she fell out of there and rated kind, then she got behind the dirt and she didn't like it at all," Arnold said. "I'm going to have to start over."