Dot Matrix on point in Ashley T. Cole

Sunday, September 22nd, 2019

NYRA/Elsa Lorieul

By Sarah Mace

Dot Matrix, a 6-year-old gelded son of Freud campaigned by Marshall Gramm’s Ten Strike Racing, is in career form these days. He underscored the point Sunday with a half-length victory over a deep field in the 44th running of the $125,000 Ashley T. Cole for New York-breds at 1 1/8 miles over the inner turf at Belmont Park.

The victory was Dot Matrix’ fifth win in his last nine starts and his second career stakes tally. Second by just a neck last out in the West Point at Saratoga, the flashy bay sealed the deal this time around when he wrested the lead from tenacious pacesetter Voodoo Song.

As a testament to the strength of the field assembled for this year’s Ashley T. Cole, Dot Matrix was let got at odds of 8-1 – the second longest price of seven — despite his recent success.

The post time favorite was Gucci Factor (8-5), winner of his last three, most recently the Grade 3 Poker on June 16. Also, in the mix was Grade 1 winner Voodoo Song (3-1), unplaced in two 2019 starts and seeking to regain his form after a late start to training this year. Other stalwarts from this competitive division included multiple stakes winners Offering Plan (9-2), who beat Dot Matrix by a nose in the West Point, and Therapist (7-1), also by Freud

The lone speed on paper, Voodoo Song followed the script and took control of the pace after the break. He led the field unchallenged through a first half-mile in 48.14 and three-quarters in 1:11.78. Favorite Gucci Factor, meanwhile, had a disastrous break, lurching to the right just before the gate opened, smashing the wall and spotting the field 13 lengths.

NYRA/Joe Labozzetta

Dot Matrix marked Voodoo Song from the start, pursuing 2 1/2 lengths behind. Closing the gap in the far turn he began to turn on the pressure. Dot Matrix engaged Voodoo Song at the head of the stretch then got a head in front around the furlong maker.

Voodoo Song fought on bravely on the inside, but ultimately to no avail. Dot Matrix crossed the line a half-length winner. A half-length behind Voodoo Song, Offering Plan closed well from far back get third, while Therapist completed the superfecta.

Completing the order of finish were Red Knight and Gucci Factor, whose trip was ill-fated from the start, and Memories of Peter After one mile in 1:35.08, Dot Matrix completed the nine furlongs in 1:46.57.

Luis Saez said, “What a nice trip! He broke so perfect. I let Voodoo Song take the lead because I knew he was the target. I had plenty of horse at the half-mile pole and, when we came to the stretch, I was worried a little bit because Voodoo Song tried to come back. But my horse was responding very well.”

Brad Cox’s assistant Dustin Dugas said, “He’s a hard-knocking horse who has been around here forever, and it’s nice to finally break through up here. He runs well everywhere else, but to finally get it done in his own state is nice. Luis knows him so well and gave him a terrific ride. He was a lot closer than I thought he was going to be, but he was comfortable cruising along. Luis rode him so confidently. It kind of helped the horse out as well. It was a nice victory.”

Voodoo Song’s pilot was encouraged by an improved effort in his third 2019 start. Said Jose Lezcano, “He broke running and he ran a good race. It was a good effort and [Dot Matrix] just got up to get him in the end, but it was an encouraging effort.”

A consistent runner for Abby Adsit in 2016 and 2017, Dot Matrix joined Brad Cox’s barn in late December 2017. Since then he has won six of 11 starts including his first stakes victory last year at Indiana Grand, when he captured the Warrior Veterans Stakes. For his career, he has won nine times in 28 starts, with four seconds and four thirds and earned $455,487.

Bred by Truxton Stables and foaled at Winslow Stevens and Philippe Lasseur’s Keane Stud in Amenia, Dot Matrix is one of five winners from five foals to start out of six-time winner Aunt Dot Dot by Gulch. Aunt Dot Dot’s second foal, PA-bred Aunt Ellipsis by Successful Appeal, is also a stakes winner. The mare’s most recent foal is a juvenile filly by Normandy Invasion named Dash Dot Dot who has not yet started. She was bred this year to Sharp Azteca.

Leave a Reply