Third in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, leading mare Cambodia is out for her first grade one victory in the Matriarch Stakes (G1) at Del Mar Nov. 26.
Cambodia has improved throughout her 5-year-old season, winning the Gallorette Stakes (G3), finishing third in the Dr. James Penny Memorial Stakes (G3), and then coming out on top in the Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2) and the John C. Mabee Stakes (G2).
She then put up a highly creditable performance in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, finding only the European pair of Wuheida and Rhododendron too strong.
None of her opponents have form as strong as that, but they still deserve respect, particularly Off Limits. Chad Brown’s Irish-bred mare has come through the ranks well this year, and at her past two starts won the Noble Damsel Stakes (G3) and the Athenia Stakes (G3), both at Belmont Park.
Brown also starts the Frankel filly Rubilinda, a winner of three of her four starts, including the Christiecat Stakes and Pebbles Stakes.
Hawksmoor also deserves some strong respect after a strong 2017. She won the Beaugay Stakes (G3) and the New York Stakes (G2) in late spring, and at her most recent start finished second to Zipessa in the First Lady Stakes (G1) at Keeneland.
Miss Julia Star is worth a thought in her first run in the United States since moving from France, where she won her last three starts. Backing up from the Goldikova Stakes (G2) at Del Mar Nov. 4 are the winner Kitten’s Roar, runner-up Thundering Sky, and eighth-place finisher Mrs McDougal, who didn’t get much luck that day.
The 3-year-old filly Lull takes on older fillies and mares after beating her own age group in the Autumn Miss Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita. Senator Ken Maddy Stakes (G3) winner Belvoir Bay, John C. Mabee Stakes fourth-place finisher Insta Erma, and Yellow Ribbon Handicap runner-up Pretty Girl complete the field.
Cambodia definitely has the strongest form lines in the race, but Hawksmoor’s grade one form should also be respected, while Off Limits and Rubilinda are also solid chances. Watch the market also for Lull and Miss Julia Star.