07/26/2013 2:45PM

Monmouth Park: Minakshi needs right trip in Matchmaker

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Julie's Love win the Owsley Stakes at Belmont Park. She finished second in the Dance Smartly Stakes at Woodbine in her last start.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Minakshi has run competitively in three U.S. starts for trainer Michael Matz.

Her breakthrough win could come Sunday at Monmouth Park in the Grade 3, $150,000 Matchmaker Stakes for fillies and mares on the turf.

The Matchmaker is one of seven races on the card topped by the Grade 1, $1 million Haskell Invitational. There are also a pair of Grade 2, $200,000 stakes: the Monmouth Cup and the Molly Pitcher. The deep program also includes two Grade 3, $150,000 contests: the Matchmaker and the Oceanport, plus the Teddy Drone and the Regret, each worth $100,000.

Minakshi has run three times at Belmont Park since joining the Matz barn this year after beginning her career in France.

She was second in an overnight stakes, beaten only a half-length, before a pair of Grade 2 tests: the Sheepshead Bay and the New York Stakes. Minakshi was third on the soft footing in the Sheepshead Bay, beaten only 2  1/4 lengths after setting the pace. She rallied for fourth in the New York, losing by only two lengths.

After three good efforts without a victory, Minakshi gets class relief in the 1 1/8-mile Matchmaker.

[HASKELL INVITATIONAL: Get PPs, watch Sunday’s card live]

“She’s done everything right so far,” Matz said. “We’re just trying to win one of these races. She’s been close. She’s been very competitive at a high level.”

Matz is hoping Minakshi finally gets her preferred trip, sitting right behind the pacesetters. He was not happy to see her on the lead in the Sheepshead Bay, nor so far back in the New York.

“If she can stay right off the pace and make one run at them, one of these days we’ll get there,” Matz said.

This time it’s up to Angel Serpa to navigate the trip.

Julie’s Love, trained by Graham Motion, has been keeping company with Minakshi. She won the Owsley Stakes in Minakshi’s U.S. debut and was fourth in the Sheepshead Bay. She rallied for second most recently in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly at Woodbine.

Laughing took Monmouth’s Eatontown Handicap in her season debut. She is entered in the Matchmaker but is expected to run Saturday in the Grade 1 Diana at Saratoga.

Channel Lady won the Grade 3 All Along at Colonial Downs last month.

Regret: Back by popular demand

The Regret for filly and mare sprinters was held over a day to join the Haskell festivities.

When the race attracted a nice, well-balanced field, Monmouth management postponed the Regret from Saturday to Sunday and increased the purse by $25,000 to $100,000.

The six-furlong race attracted a field of 10, including My Place Anytime, another inexpensive claim that trainer Yvon Belsoeur has turned into a stakes winner.

“I love her,” Belsoeur said of his $5,000 acquisition last summer. “She’s a freak.”

She has won six races since the claim, including Monmouth’s Blue Sparkler Stakes.

Trainers Larry Jones and Wesley Ward both shipped in fillies from Kentucky. Jones sends out Same Cross following a second-place finish in a third-level optional claiming race at Churchill Downs.

Ward’s Glamour Puss was third in Churchill’s Roxelana Stakes.

Teddy Drone: Well Spelled makes return

Well Spelled, winner of the Grade 3 Jersey Shore Stakes here last summer, returns in the Teddy Drone at six furlongs.

This will be his first race since spotting the field 12 lengths before storming home to win the Gallant Bob Stakes at Parx Racing last September.

The New Jersey-bred Javerre is a perfect 4 for 4 on Monmouth’s main track while Immortal Eyes has won two in a row here, including the Mr. Prospector Stakes.

Amy Hurley More than 1 year ago
Does the Matchmaker still offer stallion seasons to the top 3 finishers? If so, who are the stallions?