Special Matter goes the distance again to win Carleton F. Burke
October 27, 2002
Special Matter inched away from Alyzig in the stretch to win his second straight 1 1/2-mile turf race at Santa Anita Park on Sunday, taking the $150,000 Carleton F. Burke Handicap (G3) and earning the first stakes victory of his career.
Special Matter, who was claimed by trainer Rafael Becerra for owner Janice McClintock for $12,500 on May 31 at Hollywood Park, entered Sunday’s race off a victory in a starter allowance on October 14 at Santa Anita. Sent off at odds of 9.60-to-1 in the Carleton F. Burke, Special Matter and jockey Tyler Baze stayed close to early leader Alyzig through a half-mile in :48.92 before challenging two wide on the turn and taking the lead at the top of the stretch.
Special Matter, a four-year-old son of River Special, completed the distance over a firm course in 2:28.47 as Alyzig finished 1 3/4 lengths back in second, a head in front of Dance Dreamer in third. San Luis Obispo Handicap (G2) winner Nazirali (Ire), sent off as the 4-to-5 favorite, finished a nose behind in fourth.
Baze said he was impressed with the way Special Matter responded when called upon. "I got him to relax after we got off the hill," Baze said, "and when I asked him, he kicked it in so hard – I don't think I even uncocked my stick, he was running so hard. I knew I had a really good shot coming in here, we finally found his right distance. He knows when to run – at the three-eighths pole he started going, and I said, 'All right, let's go before they catch us.’ "
Bred in Florida by Penny Lewis, Special Matter has won four of 16 career starts, with four runner-up finishes and four third-place finishes, and has earned $197,685. Special Matter is the only stakes winner from five winners out of the unplaced Valid Appeal mare Appealing Look.