More That Ready sired his 24th individual Group 1 winner at Del Mar on Sunday when his imported filly Uni (GB) exploded to a late victory in the Matriarch Stakes (1600m).
Uni graduated to the elite level and maintained her unbeaten record this year with a sensational finishing burst on turf. She’s left an Eclipse Award for Fillies & Mares too late this year but has laid down the gauntlet for 2019.
Jumping from a wide gate around a tricky lay-out, she settled much further back than anticipated. Australia-born Michael Wrona, who was calling his last meeting at Del Mar, picked her out approaching the home turn.
“Uni has got a good 15 lengths to make up…Uni is starting to unwind on the extreme outside…She’s coming like a rocket…From out of the clouds…It’s a captivating victory for Uni”
Jockey Joel Rosario said the speed was quick up front for a mile race. “We were far back but she was comfortable, so I was too. I just wanted to make one move with her. About the three furlong (600m) I could feel she was good under me. So we went outside and she went on with it. She’s a nice one.”
Uni is a 4yo English-bred daughter of More Than Ready from Unaided (Dansili). Her second-dam Wosaita (Generous) is a half-sister to 1990 Prix de Diane winner Rafha (Kris).
A Listed victory in the Prix Matchem (1800m) at Maisons-Laffitte in May 2017 saw the Haras D’Etreham homebred create international interest and she was soon enough on her way to leading trainer Chad Brown in the United States.
“It wasn’t the plan to be so far back,” assistant trainer Jose Hernandez said on Sunday. “We told Joel to break with the field and see what happens. I was a little nervous being so far behind, but she was really, really strong in the stretch”
More Than Ready’s latest Group 1 arrived a day after his filly Justa Lady edged clear in the final strides of the Richie Scherer Memorial LR at Fair Grounds. It was her second black-type win in New Orleans following the Tellike Stakes LR in September 2017.
Justa Lady has 7 wins in a 22-start career for Kentucky owner-breeder Curtis Green. “This filly has got a lot of heart,” jockey James Graham said. “She did everything right and thanks to Steve (Asmussen) for leting me ride her.”
Her dam Bet to Win (Pulpit) had another filly by the Vinery legend make $650,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
There was another sales update for More Than Ready in South Africa on Saturday following a Group 3 victory by Nafaayes. The 3yo filly by Exceed and Excel won the Ipi Tombe Challenge at Turffontein prompting assistant-trainer Mathew de Kock to predict she could have a G1 Paddock Stakes assignment at Kenilworth in January.
Nafaayes is raced by Sheikh Hamdan and Kia-Ora Stud will offer her younger half-sister (Lot 508) by More Than Ready at the Gold Coast Magic Millions.