10/26/2013 7:36PM

Santa Anita: Wishing Gate may try Matriarch after winning Autumn Miss

Barbara D. Livingston
Wishing Gate rallies from seventh under Gary Stevens to take the Autumn Miss for 3-year-old fillies.

ARCADIA, Calif. - A sharp win from Wishing Gate in Saturday’s $101,500 Autumn Miss Stakes at Santa Anita may lead to a start in a Grade 1 against older fillies and mares this fall for the 3-year-old filly.

After Wishing Gate had an ideal trip to win the Grade 3 Autumn Miss Stakes for 3-year-old fillies over a mile on turf, trainer Tom Proctor mentioned the $250,000 Matriarch Stakes over a mile on turf at Betfair Hollywood Park on Dec. 1 as a possibility.

Ridden by Gary Stevens, Wishing Gate ($4.80) closed from seventh in a field of 11 to win by 1 1/4 lengths over 12-1 Journey On. Sent off as the favorite, Wishing Gate ran a mile in 1:34.67.

Wishing Gate broke from post 10, and Stevens said he was comfortable aboard the filly after he positioned her in mid-pack on the first turn.

“Once we got into the first turn, I was pretty confident,” he said. “She’s a push-button filly. She’s on the improve.”

Stevens had Wishing Gate in fourth on the backstretch, racing outside of pacesetter Journey On, who set early fractions of 23.50 and 48.17 seconds. On the turn, Wishing Gate was three-wide and in contention. She took the lead before the eighth pole and was not threatened in the final furlong.

Journey On, who won an optional claimer for California-breds on turf on Oct. 13 for her third consecutive win, made her stakes debut in the Autumn Miss. She finished a half-length in front of Charlie Em, the winner of the Grade 3 Senorita Stakes at Hollywood Park in May.

Need You Now, the winner of the Le Cle Stakes at Hollywood Park in July, was fourth, followed by Oscar Party, Include the Aussie, Flashy Ways, Wittgenstein, Heir Kitty, Miss Empire,  and Caraquista.

Wishing Gate races for breeder Glen Hill Farm. By Indian Charlie, Wishing Gate has won 4 of 10 starts and $305,344. Eighth in the 2012 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita, Wishing Gate won the Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap over a mile on turf at Del Mar in July and was second in the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in August.

Proctor said he considered sending Wishing Gate to the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland in October, but opted to stay in Southern California.

“I thought it would be best for her,” he said. “I may try her in the Matriarch.”