Up the Backstretch: Longshot takes shot at champ

The Sports NetworkJuly 18, 2013 

Trainer Michael Matz has been on the winning side in big races, 2006 Kentucky Derby, and has had horses who were the ones to beat in major events.

Saturday at Delaware Park, the former Olympic rider will send out a longshot runner in an effort to upset champion mare Royal Delta in the Delaware Handicap, a race the 5-year-old won last year.

Matz, training And Why Not for owner Helen Groves, has the 4-year-old filly in the 1 1/4-mile Del 'Cap as a 15-1 outsider versus the even-money favorite and four other females.

"Right now she had a little rest over the wintertime," Matz noted in a teleconference Tuesday, "and we brought her back and she ran a real nice race in the Obeah, and I think that, you know, a mile and a quarter is a good distance for her."

And Why Not, ridden by Joshua Navarro, was beaten a neck in the Obeah at Delaware Park as a 10-1 longshot. It was her third start of the year and came after an eighth-place finish at Keeneland in the Bewitch Stakes.

The filly hasn't won since her debut race two years ago at Saratoga. She competed against some of the top 3-year-old fillies in 2012, but getting distanced in both the Gulfstream Park Oaks and Kentucky Oaks.

However, while And Why Not may not win regularly she has been second four times and banked $144,386 in 13 starts.

The Del 'Cap may be a flyer, but Matz believes the filly will love the 1 1/4- mile distance on the main track.

"Well, it's a lot of money, that's for sure," Matz answered as to why And Why Not is entered in the Del 'Cap. "and for one thing, the distance. This filly needs a - she needs a lot of distance.

"I think that's the biggest thing, the distance for her, and she ran a real nice race in the Obeah. You know, she's been - she's one of those horses where probably if it's an allowance race or a stakes race, she's going to run the way she wants to run, and the biggest thing is the distance in the race. She's got the - you know, she's run well as a 2-year-old. I know she's only won one race, but she's been close a bunch of times."

And Why Not is a late running horse who has never started in a 1 1/4-mile race and has only been past 1 1/8 miles once in her career.

Saturday's Del 'Cap is Royal Delta's to lose. And Why Not gets that rare opportunity to shock the betting public by upsetting a champion as a true longshot.

News & Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service