12/04/2016 7:50PM

Miss Temple City completes super season by winning Matriarch

Benoit & Associates
Miss Temple City, with Edgar Prado, noses out Roca Rojo in the Matriarch.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The ambitious 2016 campaign of Miss Temple City had the perfect ending on Sunday at Del Mar as she earned her third Grade 1 victory of the year by holding off Roca Rojo in the $302,070 Matriarch Stakes for female grass runners, the featured race here on closing day.

 Miss Temple City raced in Kentucky, New York, California, and at Royal Ascot in England this year, and twice earlier in the year defeated males in Grade 1 races. That’s the kind of resume that usually would get a filly a year-end championship, but Miss Temple City, 4, has the misfortune of being in the same category as Tepin, whose outstanding form – including a victory at Royal Ascot – should bring her a second Eclipse Award.

 “I wish they’d retire Tepin,” Graham Motion, the trainer of Miss Temple City, joked after the race.

 “Any other year she’d stand out,” Motion said of Miss Temple City

 Miss Temple City (8-5) was favored to add the Matriarch to her list of accomplishments. She was coming off a good fifth-place finish against open company – including nemesis Tepin – in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 5, and remained in California to point for this one-mile turf race.

She drew the outside post in a field that ended up being 11 after the scratch Sunday morning of Decked Out. But under Edgar Prado, Miss Temple City was able to get over well enough into the first turn to take up a stalking position without losing any appreciable ground.

 “I was worried after the draw, but when I got here and saw how far the gate was from the first turn, I felt better,” Motion said.

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 Miss Temple City was always within striking distance of the leader, Stays in Vegas, gradually wore her down to take the lead in deep stretch, and just lasted over Roca Rojo to win by a nose,  with Stays in Vegas another head back in third

 “I was a little worried at the top of the stretch. I thought Edgar might have gone on with it,” Motion said. “I think we were too guilty earlier this year of trying to cover her up. The key is to get her settled. Edgar figured that out the first time he rode her.”

 Mexican Gold was fourth and was followed, in order, by Zindaya, Time and Motion, Tiz a Kiss, Prize Exhibit, Nancy From Nairobi, Kitcat, and Sobradora Inc.

 Miss Temple City completed one mile on firm turf in 1:35.16, with a final quarter-mile in less than 23 seconds.

The Matriarch was the third stakes win for Motion at this 15-day meet, following last weekend’s Grade 2 Seabiscuit with Ring Weekend and Grade 3 Jimmy Durante with Journey Home.

 Miss Temple City is owned by a partnership that includes Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Farm, The Club Racing LLC partnership run by Bob Feld, and Needle In a Haystack LLC. She has now won six times in 16 starts, and the $180,000 first prize brought her career earnings to $1,453,038.

 Motion said Miss Temple City now would get her usual winter vacation at his Fair Hill outpost in Maryland, before gearing up anew next spring. Her goals include a return trip to Royal Ascot, and next fall’s Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar.