Shebestingin is the 3-5 morning line favorite in Sunday’s $130,650 Matron Stakes for 3-year-old filly pacers at Dover Downs. She will start from post four with David Miller in the sulky.
Last week, Shebestingin won her Matron elimination by three lengths over Ms Caila J Fra in 1:51.2. Ms Caila J Fra is the 9-2 second choice in the final.
Dover Downs hosts Matron finals for 2- and 3-year-old trotters and pacers on Sunday.
|Shebestingin won her Matron elimination by three lengths over Ms Caila J Fra in 1:51.2.|
Following the Matron, Shebestingin is expected to make her last start of the year in the $200,000 Nadia Lobell Stakes on Nov. 30 at the Meadowlands.
“(Her year has) been decent,” said Holloway, who trains Shebestingin for owners Val D’Or Farms, Ted Gewertz and L&L DeVisser. “When I trained her down, I thought she had a chance to be dominant. She wasn’t. You have to show up, you have to race.”
Shebestingin has won 10 of 17 starts this year and finished in the top three a total of 14 times while earning $489,551. The three times she failed to hit the board were the $500,000 Breeders Crown, $350,000 Valley Forge and $184,250 Mistletoe Shalee. All three of those races, as well as the $300,000 James M. Lynch Memorial where Shebestingin finished second, were won by I Luv The Nitelife.
I Luv The Nitelife did not enter the Matron, but is expected to race in the Nadia Lobell.
“I Luv The Nitelife has been the dominant filly; the best 3-year-old filly,” Holloway said. “In my heart, I think if we were ever on our good day and have a shot, we could beat her. But we haven’t done it, so you have to tip your hat to them. I knew it would be a battle with her, but I thought come year end, we would best her more than she bested us.
“We’ll have to maybe wait to find out next year. But it should be fun.”
A daughter of stallion Bettor's Delight out of the mare Armbro Tussle, Shebestingin was purchased as a yearling for $55,000 at the Standardbred Horse Sale and is a half-sister to stakes-winners Hop Sing and Bono Bests.
Shebestingin (pronounced She-be-stingin) went 3-for-3 last year, winning divisions of the Simpson, Reynolds and Tompkins-Geers stakes before being sidelined in August by a stress fracture.
She won five of her first six races this year, with the loss coming by a neck from post nine to Jerseylicious in the Bobby Weiss Series final at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs.
|USTA/Ken Weingartner photo|
|Shebestingin has won 13 times in 20 career starts, with earnings of $531,127.|
Other highlights this year included winning her division of the Glen Garnsey in a world-record 1:47 at The Red Mile on Oct. 5 and capturing the $250,750 Empire Breeders Classic in a stakes- and track-record 1:49 at Tioga Downs on Aug. 11.
Her 1:47 mile in the Garnsey is the fastest ever by a female pacer of any age in harness racing history.
“(Was I surprised) that she raced well? No,” Holloway said about her effort at The Red Mile. “That she went in (1):47 flat, time becomes a little bit irrelevant anymore because horses can go so fast, but I’ve known she’s been an extremely fast horse for quite some time.”
Holloway said Shebestingin had issues tying up at The Red Mile and was not at her best heading into the Breeders Crown. But those issues seem to be in the past as she prepares for the Matron final.
“We'd had a tough week before the Breeders Crown,” Holloway said. “She had tied up, but no excuses, you have to be good when you have to be good. I wish she had been a little bit better for the night of the Breeders Crown, but she wasn’t. But she was very good last week and seems to be excellent so far this week.”
As for her chances in the Matron, Holloway said he expected her to race well.
“I just hope she is as good as she was last week,” he added. “She’ll handle the rest from there.”
To see the full Matron card at Dover Downs, click here.