Morning Matcha tabbed as Obeah favorite

LC Racing, Cash is King and Gary Barber’s Morning Matcha tops a field of six entered in the $150,000 Obeah Stakes at Delaware Park this Saturday. The mile-and-a-sixteenth contest is the local prep for the filly and mare summer classic – the Grade II Delaware Handicap on Saturday, July 8.

In her only outing this season, Morning Matcha won the seven-furlong Pennsylvania-bred restricted $100,000 Unique Bella Stakes by 2-lengths at Parx on April 24. 

“The main objective was to give her a race to start her season, so kind of anything we made going seven-eighths would have been a bonus,” said her trainer Robert “Butch” Reid, Jr.  “For her to jump up and win was a real pleasant surprise.”

Last year, the daughter of Central Banker compiled a record of two wins, two seconds and three thirds, including a victory in Main Line Stakes at Parx, a pair of seconds in the Grade 1 Cotillion at Parx and the Busanda at Aqueduct, and a pair of thirds in the Grade 3 Delaware Oaks at Delaware Park and the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct. The 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred has earned $713,390 from 18 career starts.

“We are looking for a big race on Saturday,” said Reid.  “She is doing extremely well.  She had a really nice blow out on Sunday and she is nice and fresh.  She has really matured and put on a lot of good weight over the winter.  We did a lot of running with her last year, and the break did her a world of good. She is a hard knocker for sure.  She has danced every dance pretty much from her 2-year-old season at Saratoga through the end of her 3-year-old campaign last year. She really earned that break and she tries every time, so you have gotta to love her.”  


Morning Matcha is 8-5 on the morning line, and Paco Lopez will ride. The second choice, at 5-2, is the Riley Mott-trained Traverse. Jaime Rodriguez is named.

Morning Matcha
Morning Matcha at Pimlico prior to the 2022 Black-Eyed Susan. Photo Allison Janezic.

The race is named in honor of the two-time Delaware Handicap winner in 1969 and 1970 and the dam of the Hall of Fame filly Go For Wand who was locally owned by Jane and Harry duPont’s Christiana Stable.  Horses finishing first, second, third or fourth in the Obeah Stakes will automatically earn a free nomination to the Delaware Handicap.

Since the Obeah Stakes was inaugurated in 1996, four fillies or mares have won the race and followed with a victory in the Delaware Handicap.  They were the 2006 older female champion Fleet Indian, I’m a Chatterbox in 2016, Miss Marissa, in 2021, and Miss Leslie last year. 

Two fillies have finished second in the Obeah and won the Delaware Handicap.  They were Power Play in 1997 and Unbridled Belle in 2007.  Three winners of the Obeah Stakes have followed by running second in the Delaware Handicap.  They were Under the Rug in 2001, Your Out in 2002 and the 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace. 

1Morning MatchaLC Racing, Cash is King & Gary BarberRobert Reid, JrPaco Lopez1208/5
2Tap the FaithManzanita StablesChristophe ClementCarol Cedeno1209/2
3Pistol Liz AblazenCash Is King & LC RacingRobert Reid, JrTBD12012-1
4Hybrid EclipseThe Elkstone GroupBrittany RussellSheldon Rssell1259/2
5Award WantedNo Guts No Glory Farm & EricaJohn RobbAngel Cruz1206-1
6TraverseClaiborne FarmRiley MottJaime Rodriguez1255/2