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Ex-Claimer Special Matter Captures Carleton F. Burke Handicap

October 27, 2002
Santa Anita Press Release

ARCADIA, Calif. - Special Matter, claimed for $12,500 by trainer Rafael Beccera on May 31, captured the $150,000 Carleton F. Burke Handicap (GIII) at 1 1/2 miles on the turf Sunday at Oak Tree at Santa Anita, returning more than seven times his purchase price.

Special Matter, a 4-year-old gelded son of River Special, stalked the pace setting Alyzig until the field of five turned for home, then kicked to the lead under Tyler Baze and won by 1 3/4 lengths under 110 pounds. Time over a firm course was 2:28.47.

Alyzig, ridden by Victor Espinoza, held second by a head over Dance Dreamer, ridden by Kent Desormeaux. Nazirali, the 4-5 favorite ridden by David Flores, was a nose back in fourth. Rob's Spirit completed the order of finish. Mountain Rage was scratched.

"I liked the bottom line on the sire (River Special-Riverman)," Becerra said when asked why he made the claim for owners Nancy Elder, Janice McClintock and George McClintock. "I thought he had a chance to run on and I had seen the horse one race before (on May 4) and liked the way he ran. He just looked good to me, that's all. The main thing is, he was sound."

The field raced single file until it reached the far turn, when Special Matter launched his bid. The Florida-bred took command near midstretch and was not threatened to the wire. He paid $21.10 to win and earned $90,000 for his fourth win from 16 starts. His career earnings are $197,685.

"I got him to relax after we got off the hill, and when I asked him, he kicked it in hard," Baze said. "I don't think I even uncocked my stick. I knew I had a really good shot coming in, because we finally found his right distance."

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