In 'Closing', Cal-Bred Mare Can Climb Grade I Hill in Matriarch

Closing Remarks | Benoit

Stop us if you've heard this a time or a thousand. Horses trained by Chad Brown figure tough in the GI Matriarch S. on closing day of the Bing Crosby Meet at Del Mar. Undisputable though that is–he has, after all, sent out the winner all but once since 2017–Harris Farms homebred Closing Remarks (Vronsky) will look to have the final say Sunday afternoon.

The chestnut has yet to strike in three tries at the top level, though she was runner-up in the 2021 Del Mar Oaks while finishing just ahead of one of the Brown representatives she'll be facing here. Closing Remarks is, however, a three-time graded winner over the one-mile distance of the Matriarch and has recorded two of her four victories at the graded level over the Jimmy Durante turf course, including this year's GII Yellow Ribbon S. and GII John C. Mabee S. going slightly farther. Fourth in the GII Rodeo Drive S. over a 10-furlong journey that likely finds her out, she bounced back to defeat Queen Goddess (Empire Maker) and Hamwood Flier (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) in Santa Anita's one-mile GII Goldikiova S. Nov. 5. Juan Hernandez will need to work out a trip from the widest gate, but there is plenty of speed on paper and she should be coming at them late.

The Brown-trained Fluffy Socks (Slumber {GB}) was third in that aforementioned Del Mar Oaks, having won the local GIII Jimmy Durante S. at two. The Head of Plains homebred won the GII Distaff Turf Mile at Churchill on seasonal debut May 6, but has since dropped three straight, including a third in the Listed Athenia S. at Aqueduct Oct. 27.

Whitebeam (GB) (Caravaggio) is the likely Matriarch favorite after downing stablemate In Italian (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the GI Diana S. going nine furlongs July 15. The Juddmonte homebred has revenge on her mind, having finished an alibi-free fourth to stable companion Gina Romantica (Into Mischief) in the GI First Lady S. at Keeneland Oct. 7.

Sunday's co-featured GIII Cecil B. DeMille S. lacks a marquee horse, and its winner could also come from a high draw. Unplaced behind Mission Beach (Curlin) and Wine Me Up (Vino Rosso) in a pair of main-track sprints, Stay Hot (Summer Front) looked like a new horse when graduating first time turf and first time long at Santa Anita Oct. 7 and exits a 10th in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. Lord Bullingdon (Lord Nelson) maps to have a sweet run behind what should be a generous tempo as he looks to add to his victory in the Qatar Gold Mile Nov. 4, while D J Stable's Deadpan (Distorted Humor) looks to build on a neck maiden victory over the Keeneland turf course Oct. 28.

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