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Surge Capacity Tops Brown-Trained Matriarch Superfecta

Because trainer Chad Brown had won five of the last six Matriarch Stakes (G1T) at Del Mar, no one was going to be surprised to see him win it again Dec. 3. But instead of simply winning the race with Surge Capacity , Brown managed a Superfecta, his four runners leading the rest of the 12-horse field across the finish line.

Surge Capacity at 3 is the youngest and least experienced of Brown’s 2023 Matriarch runners, but she certainly has heart. She came through the narrowest of openings on the rail for jockey Joel Rosario in a move reminiscent of her victory in the Oct. 27 Valley View Stakes (G3T) at Keeneland to edge stablemate Fluffy Socks , who had mounted her own big run from the outside.

Longshot Gracelund Gray  took the early lead in the one-mile Matriarch over Whitebeam , who not only was favored of Brown’s runners but was the overall favorite at 19-10. Beaute Cachee , Brown’s longest shot at 18-1, sat in midpack, while 4-1 Surge Capacity and 6-1 Fluffy Socks were well back.

Rosario, who has ridden Surge Capacity in all of her earlier stakes attempts, cut over early from post 3. Surge Capacity hugged the rail, and by the time the field negotiated the second turn, she had seven to beat.

“I kind of had no choice but to stay inside,” said Rosario. “I was just trying to save the ground and then go from there.”

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Rosario spied a minuscule opening inside of Gracelund Gray at the eighth pole and asked Surge Capacity to go through it. By then Whitebeam had taken command, and once Surge Capacity passed Gracelund Gray, she also had to come inside of Whitebeam.

As that scenario unfolded, Irad Ortiz Jr. had Fluffy Socks flying on the outside. Coming to the wire, Surge Capacity dueled with Fluffy Socks, outgaming her by a head in 1:33.95. Beaute Cachee bumped with a rival in the upper stretch and managed to rally for third, 1 1/2 lengths behind Fluffy Socks and a head in front of Whitebeam.

“She’s a fighter, you know–she likes to run,” said Rosario. “She likes the competition.”

Jose Hernandez, Brown’s assistant, noted that the Matriarch was very similar to the Valley View.

“She got in trouble, and then when she gets in the clear, she just takes off,” Hernandez said. “It’s just her–I’ve never seen that before. Fillies get intimidated a little bit, but when she gets in the clear, she just takes off again.”

Surge Capacity was winning her fourth race in five starts. In addition to the Valley View, she captured the July 21 Lake George Stakes (G3T) and ran second in the Aug. 19 Lake Placid Stakes (G2T), both at Saratoga.

Surge Capacity not only led the Brown quartet in the Matriarch, she gave the trainer and her owner, Seth Klarman Klaravich Stables, a Del Mar grade 1 double. Those are also the connections of Dec. 2 Hollywood Derby (G1T) winner Program Trading .

The victory gives Brown four consecutive Matriarch winners and six of the last seven runnings. Brown has been affiliated with the race well before that because he was an assistant to the late Bobby Frankel, who won it eight times from 1996-2007.

Klaravich bred Surge Capacity in Kentucky from the Warrior’s Reward   mare Strong Incentive , who raced for Klaravich and William H. Lawrence. Trained by Brown, Strong Incentive won the 2015 Jammed Lovely Stakes at Woodbine. The mare has produced four starters, all winners, including 2022 Monmouth Cup Stakes (G3) winner Highly Motivated   and 2-year-old Ways and Means , second in this year’s Spinaway Stakes (G1) for Klaravich and Brown.

Brown also trained Flintshire , the sire of Surge Capacity, late in that runner’s career. A Juddmonte homebred, Flintshire was the 2016 Eclipse Award-winning champion grass horse. The stallion’s runners include 2021 Cecil B. DeMille Stakes (G3T) winner Verbal  and 2021 Prix Noailles (G3) winner Cheshire Academy . Flintshire stands for 6,000 euros at Haras de Montaigu in France.

Video: Matriarch S. (G1T)

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