08/16/2012 1:17PM

Penn National: Matz holds strong stakes hand with Colonial Flag and Welcome Dance


Trainer Michael Matz has a solid uncoupled entry lined up for the first of two $100,000, one-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds on Saturday night’s card at Penn National.

Colonial Flag, last of eight as the 3-1 second choice in last month’s Grade 1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park, and Welcome Dance, wire-to-wire winner of an overnight stakes at Delaware Park last time out, give Matz a potent one-two punch in the Dauphin Miss for 3-year-old fillies (race 3).

Based at the Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland, Colonial Flag did not adapt well to either the 1 1/4-mile distance of the American Oaks or the cross-country trip to California. Previously, she was second, beaten one length, in the Grade 3 Regret at Churchill Downs.

Welcome Dance heads a group of four fillies who were separated by two lengths at the finish of the 1 1/16-mile Walking in Da Sun at Delaware Park on July 11. In her season’s debut, which came in the $184,000 Edgewood at Churchill Downs, Welcome Dance flashed high speed from post 11 before weakening to finish third.

Also in the field are Seanchi, beaten 1 1/2 lengths as the runner-up to Welcome Dance on July 11, third-place finisher Zucchini Flower, and fourth-place Filare l’Oro. Filare l’Oro returned from that effort to finish second, beaten a half-length, in the Grade 3 Virginia Oaks.

In the co-featured Capital City (race 4), Margano, beaten less than two lengths in a pair of turf stakes in New York, and Unbroken, a winner of his last two starts, look like prime contenders in a field of 10 3-year-old colts and geldings.

Although Margano is just 1 for 7 and exits a fourth-place finish in a nonwinners-of-two allowance, he ran much better at Belmont Park. He was fourth, 1 1/2 lengths behind the winner, in the Grade 3 Hill Prince, and second, a half-length behind, in the seven-furlong Tiller at Belmont Park.

Unbroken, lackluster in his first four starts, has been much improved in his two most recent races, winning his maiden by 10 lengths and taking a first-level optional $16,000 claimer by a neck, both at Delaware Park.

The field also includes Masteral, an Italian import making his first start for trainer Graham Motion, and Just Sayin, four-length winner of a nonwinners-of-two allowance going 7 1/2 furlongs last time out. Motion shows an 11-for-45 record (24 percent) with foreign imports making their first U.S. start on turf following a layoff of more than 45 days.