How to bet the 2019 Arlington Matron Stakes

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

May 30th, 2019

In terms of proven class and overall accomplishments, #3 La Force is clearly the mare to beat in Saturday’s $100,000 Arlington Matron Stakes (G3) at Arlington Park.

Last year, the German-bred daughter of Power placed second in three straight grade 1 races on the California circuit, and she returned as good as ever in her 2019 debut, when she finished second in the Santa Margarita Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park on April 27. At first glance La Force seems like a classy and obvious choice to win the Arlington Matron.

But I have a few concerns. La Force has never run over a synthetic track like the Arlington Polytrack course—she’s split her runs equally between dirt and turf surfaces and has shown a distinct preference for dirt. She also lacks tactical speed and is essentially a one-run “pick up the pieces” closer, which is reflected by her overall record. She has won just twice in 24 starts, with eight runner-up efforts to her credit. Despite her solid finishes against top company, she’s never won a stakes.

That’s why I’m going to oppose La Force with #8 Daddy’s Boo. She might be an 8-year-old, but this speedy gray frontrunner has been a winning machine throughout her career, with 16 victories from 33 starts. She’s also shown a clear affinity for the Arlington Polytrack, where she has compiled a 6-3-2-1 record, including a game, runner-up effort in the 2018 Arlington Matron. She tuned up for this year’s renewal with a decisive victory in an optional-claiming allowance at Arlington two weeks ago, when she led from the start and prevailed by 2 1/2 lengths.

Need another positive to consider? Daddy’s Boo is conditioned by Arlington’s leading trainer, Larry Rivelli, who has compiled an otherworldly 21-for-45 record at the current meet—a 47% strike rate.

#5 No Pali Spirit, an allowance winner over the Arlington Polytrack last summer, could be in the mix for the exotics after a string of decent efforts on turf (some against stakes company) in Florida and Kentucky. #6 Coachwhip, who has placed in four stakes races on turf, is another I’ll use, because she should enjoy the 1 1/8-mile distance.

I’ll bet Daddy’s Boo to win and key her on top of La Force, No Pali Spirit and Coachwhip in the exacta and trifecta:

$15 to win on #8 Daddy’s Boo $3 exacta: 8 with 3,5,6 ($9) $1 trifecta: 8 with 3,5,6 with 3,5,6 ($6)

Good luck!