Magic Cap Stables and eFive Racing Thoroughbreds’ Arella Rockstar was a determined winner in Sunday’s Grade 3 Matron Stakes, repelling the challenge of favorite Cherry Lodge to win by three-quarters of a length. The juvenile daughter of Astrology, ridden by Luis Saez, covered six furlongs over the fast Belmont main track in 1:11.68 for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
“I think she has a lot of guts,” Rodriguez said. “She’s a fighter. It looked like Cherry Lodge [No. 5] had her beat, but she had another gear. She looked good. We’re just going to enjoy the win and take it from there.”
Amapola was very quick out of the starting gate, leading the field by a half-length through a first quarter mile in :22.04. Both Arella Rockstar and Cherry Lodge were right alongside the leader, with the latter along the outside. It was three more lengths back to Spirituality, and Fly trailed the field. Arella Rockstar and Cherry Lodge began to cut into Amapola’s lead mid-way through the far turn, and the three fillies turned for home in unison as they ticked off a half mile in :45.61.
Arella Rockstar and Amapola had a slight advantage over Cherry Lodge, but Amapola began to fade early in the stretch run. Arella Rockstar had to work hard to repel the final bid of the favored Cherry Lodge, but in the final 70 yards Arella Rockstar was drawing away to win by a margin of three-quarters of a length. Cherry Lodge had to settle for second, with Spirituality rallying for third. Amapola was fourth.
“That filly ran so big,” relayed Saez. “When I got on, I was thinking, man, she’s alright. When she broke from the gate, she was running. She never gave up. When we came to the stretch, I thought the Pletcher horse [Cherry Lodge, No. 5] was going to pass me but I had a lot of horse and when she switched her lead, she gave me another gear and she got it. Today was the first time [I’ve been on her]. I just watched the replay of her last race when she won in Saratoga and it was a nice race. I really liked her today.”
Bred in Kentucky by Machmer Hall, Arella Rockstar was a $ 13,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September sale. She kicked off her career with a win in a $ 50,000 maiden claiming event at Saratoga, under the ownership of J Stables and trained by Ralph Nicks. Rodriguez claimed the filly on behalf of her current owners, and she is now undefeated in two career starts for earnings of nearly $ 150,000.
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