Beautifully rated on the lead by jockey Joel Rosario, Eastern invader La Tia led from start to finish Sunday to win the Grade I $300,000 Matriarch Stakes on the 15th and final day of a highly-successful inaugural fall Bing Crosby Season at Del Mar.
La Tia, 2-1 second choice in a field of seven older fillies and mares, took command shortly after the start of the one-mile race over the infield Jimmy Durante Turf Course, maintained a safe advantage thereafter and was 1 lengths clear to the wire.
Queen of the Sand, winner of the opening-day Kathryn Crosby Stakes on opening-day, closed strongly under Mike Smith to be second, a half-length in front of
3-2 favored Discreet Marq who lodged a bid entering the stretch but then flattened out to be third. Gender Agenda was fourth, another 2 lengths farther back.
Withdrawn from the line-up was Lexie Lou, who finished second to California Chrome in the Hollywood Derby Saturday.
La Tia, an Illinois-bred five-year-old daughter of City Place, is owned by Hernandez Racing Club and trained by Armando De la cerda. The mare raced the distance in 1:35.37 while earning a prize of $180,000 with her tenth victory in 23 starts. Her bankroll now is $983,326.
The winner returned $6.60, $3.40 and $2.60. Runner-up Queen of the Sand paid $4.40 and $2.80, while Discreet Marq, who was piloted by New York-based jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., returned $2.20 to show.
In closing-day's supporting feature, the $150,000 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes, even-money favored Conquest Typhoon, ridden by Mike Smith, rallied from last place with a brilliant turn of foot to get up in the final strides and win by a half-length over Stormy Liberal. Rock Shandy was third and St. Joe Bay fourth in a field of eight two-year-olds.
Withdrawn from the DeMille Stakes were Guilty and Daddy D T.
Conquest Typhoon, a Canadian- bred son of Stormy Atlantic owned by Conquest Stables, LLC and trained by Mark Casse, raced the mile on the grass in 1:36.93 and returned $4, $3 and $2.40 with his second win in six starts. The win was worth $90,000 and increased the colt's earnings to $352,065. In his previous race, the colt was fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita.
Stormy Liberal, like the winner a son of Stormy Atlantic, paid $7.60 and $5, while Rock Shandy returned $4.80 to show.
There were 97 perfect tickets in the Pick Six and each paid $7,718.
Sunday's attendance was 5,554.
JOEL ROSARIO (La Tia, winner) – “She was a little slow going away from there, but I got her going and she was game from there. I knew those other horses would be coming, but my filly was tough. I still had some left at the end, too. She still had something in the tank. I love riding out here. I always have. I want to come back more. I’m going to get my agent working on getting me more horses out this way.”
MIKE SMITH (Queen of The Sand, second) – “I had to tap on the brakes with her in the first turn and it cost me. She ran good though.”
IRAD ORTIZ, JR. (Discreet Marq, third) – “She ran a good race for me. But the winner maybe had it too easy up front. Too easy and maybe she was too good.”
JOE TALAMO (Gender Agenda, fourth) – “I had a good trip and my filly tried very hard. It was a good race for her. She ran well.”
ARMANDO DE LA CERDA (La Tia, winner) – “This is my first time to Del Mar, the first horse I’ve run here and my first Grade I winner. This year I won three Grade IIIs before this. She worked last Saturday at Hawthorne then went to Lexington and then came out here. She has not been very good to travel, she loses weight, so I wanted to come early. I galloped her two days ago and she looked like she liked the grass. I expected the pace to be like high :22 for the first quarter and :46 to the half. When I see it’s :23 and three and :47 and four, I thought to myself, ‘She’s gone.’ ”
FRACTIONS: :23.65 :47.92 1:11.99 1:23.62 1:35.37
This was the first running of the Matriarch Stakes at Del Mar. Previously it had been run at Hollywood Park 32 times.
This was the first stakes win of the meeting for Joel Rosario, but his 21st overall at Del Mar.
This was the first stakes win ever at Del Mar for trainer Armando De la Cerda. It was his first starter at the track.
The winning owner, Hernandez Racing Club, is Salvador Hernandez of Chicago, IL.