Martin Schwartz’ Weekela got her first graded victory in North America in Sunday’s G3 Matchmaker Stakes, cutting the corner on the far turn under Javier Castellano to take the lead, then holding off the late charge of War Flag to win by three-quarters of a length. The 5-year-old daughter of Hurricane Run gave trainer Chad Brown his third win on the card, covering nine furlongs over Monmouth Park’s firm turf in 1:47.96.
“It set up just like we planned,” Brown said. “Javier and I spoke in the paddock about how we had a terrific post position, but we had a lot of respect for both War Flag and Miss Temple City. We knew Weekela was probably going to have to get a perfect trip to beat those two horses today, and Javier executed that perfectly. He used that good post position to save all the ground. Luckily the inside opened up and she got the jump on everybody and held strong.”
Judy’s Chance jumped out of the gates on top and quickly grabbed the lead while Miss Temple City held firm at the rail in a close second. Quiet Kitten was to that pair’s outside in third position, while Weekela maintained her inside position in a comfortable fourth. Castellano was unhurried with Weekela, biding his time as Judy’s Chance set fractions of :24.61, :48.71 and 1:12.13, only inching up the rail when there was clear room in front of him.
Weekela was in a comfortable third against the fence heading into the far turn, and Miss Temple City had angled out around Judy’s Chance to make her challenge. Just as Miss Temple City drew even with the leader, Judy’s Chance went wide on the far turn. Castellano took advantage, guiding Weekela through at the rail to take an easy lead. Weekela leapt into her best stride when called upon, and had just enough left to hold off the late charge of War Flag down the center of the track. Weekela crossed the wire three-quarters of a length in front of War Flag, with Miss Temple City settling for third. Judy’s Chance held on to be fourth.
“My plan was to be right behind the horses, saving as much ground as possible,” Castellano said. “You need to have a perfect trip to beat Miss Temple City and that’s what happened. I was very aware of the situation. I took my shot riding the rail and it worked out great.”
Bred in France by Dieter Burkle, Weekela was a $ 119,952 at Araqana, then commanded $ 1,233,540 at the 2015 Arqana “Arc de Triomphe” sale. Her accomplishments before the million-dollar sale included a Group 3 win and Group 1 runner-up finish. Tranferred to the United States for her 2016 season, Weekela achieved a pair of seconds in the G1 Jenny Wiley and G1 Gamely before finishing a poor tenth in the G1 Diana. Returning eleven months later in June of 2017, she won an allowance race at Belmont in preparation for the Matchmaker. Overall, Weekela’s record stands at five wins and four seconds from 13 starts, with earnings of nearly $ 420,000.
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