11/29/2015 9:28PM

Stormy Lucy scores huge upset victory in Grade 1 Matriarch

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Benoit Photo
Stormy Lucy wins the Matriarch Stakes by a head Sunday at Del Mar.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Ed Moger Jr. sent out his first winner in 1976, and when he woke up Sunday morning, he had amassed 1,605 victories during a nearly 40-year training career. None, though, was in a Grade 1 race.

By the time he went to sleep Sunday night, that had changed.

His mare Stormy Lucy, 6, owned by younger brother Steve, got the Grade 1 win Moger had long desired for both himself and for Stormy Lucy with a stunning 65-1 upset in the $302,250 Matriarch Stakes, highlight of the closing-day card at Del Mar.

Stormy Lucy ($132.80) was the second-longest shot in the 14-horse field of older female turf runners. She rallied from midpack through the final half-mile of the one-mile grass race and just did get up to beat Recepta by a head. Filimbi, the 5-2 favorite, was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third.

Queen of the Sand was fourth and was followed in order by Gender Agenda, Prize Exhibit, Stellar Path, She’s Not Here, Hard Not to Like, Chati’s On Top, Crowley’s Law, Olorda, Curlin’s Fox, and Baruta.

It was a roughly run race. Hard Not to Like went to her face right at the start with a wicked stumble that eliminated her, Filimbi was caught in traffic for much of the far turn, and several runners were compromised nearing the top of the lane when She’s Not Here bore out in traffic.

Stormy Lucy, deftly guided by Kent Desormeaux, got a clean trip and covered one mile on firm turf in 1:35.16. The win was her eighth in 31 starts, her first in five races this year, and her first in six races lifetime on Del Mar’s turf. And had things gone as originally planned, she might not have even been in this race.

The Mogers pre-entered Stormy Lucy in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf with the intention of running her at Keeneland and then selling her as a broodmare prospect. But when Stormy Lucy was placed well down the also-eligible list, she was kept in California. She ran at Del Mar on Nov. 1 in the Goldikova and finished fifth of six.

“[Had she gone to Kentucky,] she might have run up the track, and then we’d have put her in the sale,” said Moger. “We’ve been trying to get a Grade 1 with her for awhile.”

Stormy Lucy had finished third in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive in September at Santa Anita, and she was fourth in the Grade 1 Gamely in 2014, also at Santa Anita. She had won Grade 2 and Grade 3 stakes but not a Grade 1.

Stormy Lucy, a daughter of Stormy Atlantic, earned a first prize of $180,000. Her value as a broodmare, though, increased significantly with the Grade 1 win now on her ledger.

It was important for Moger, too.

“I’ve been waiting a long time, 40 years,” he said.