Dot Matrix connects in Warrior Veterans Stakes

It was a big night for trainer Brad Cox. He scored three stakes wins on the racing program, capping off a great night with a win from Dot Matrix in the $100,000 Warrior Veterans Stakes for four-year-olds and upwards on the turf.

Dot Matrix and Florent Geroux rally by Siem Riep and Jesus Castanon for the win in the $100,000 Warrior Veterans Stakes. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

Starting from post nine in the bulky field of 12, Dot Matrix sat mid pack for jockey Florent Geroux as Siem Riep and Jesus Castanon established the early tempo. Geroux found his opportunity to advance around the final turn of the one and one-sixteenth mile race. He drove between horses, bringing him into perfect position at the head of the lane.

In the stretch, Dot Matrix found another gear and worked hard to get past the front runners, crossing the wire one length ahead of Siem Riep. One Mean Man and Alex Canchari used a super late push to move into third.

“I was loaded,” said Geroux of Dot Matrix. “Great trip. I thought I’d be pretty much on the fence coming into the first turn. And the break, I was pretty much on the outside. But very nice trip from the nine hole.”

Owned by Marshall Gramm’s Ten Strike Racing, Dot Matrix earned his third win in five starts for the year in the Warrior Veterans Stakes. The five-year-old son of Freud increased his career bankroll to more than $300,000 with the win for the Cox Stable. He has been under their care since the end of 2017.

Dot Matrix is awarded the trophy in the Warrior Veterans by four charities involved in Indiana Derby week who are associated with veteran programs in Central Indiana. (Photo by Linscott Photography)

“He’s just one of those hard-knockers,” said Rick Giannini, assistant trainer to Brad Cox. “He’s as honest as the day is long. He rattled off some nice wins, got beat by a nice horse of ours in Arklow at the Fair Grounds. That Keeneland (allowance) race was just unbelievable. If anybody watches the race, they will not believe he even won the race. He just showed his heart and class in that race. Sending him to New York was a tall order. Those New York-bred stakes are not a walk in the park, for sure. And Brad thought it was a great idea to come down here. This race set up well for him, and Florent gave him a great ride, tucked there on the fence, parted the seas and came on through. He’s one of those horses who gives you a lot of confidence, too. I thought he’d be a little more forwardly placed. But when they kind of got away from him, Florent did the right thing and took him back, saved ground, and it all worked out well.”

Siem Riep, trained by Ben Colebrook, turned in a valiant effort to fend off Dot Matrix.

“I thought maybe (he could hold him off),” said Colebrook. “I knew Brad’s horse would be coming with a big run. Jesus rode him good, just maybe had to go a little too quick, but I don’t think it would have mattered. But, he ran big. He’s a fighter. He probably wants a mile, a mile and a sixteenth was probably just a touch too far.”

Jockey Florent Geroux brings Dot Matrix back to the winner’s circle following their win in the Warrior Veterans Stakes. Geroux won four races on the 10-race card during Indiana Derby Night. (Photo by John Engelhardt)

The trophy presentation was made by charities involved in the Indiana Derby Week “A Knight in Arms,” honoring fallen soldiers and those who serve and protect. Representative from Wish For Our Heroes, Helping Hands for Freedom, Wreaths Across America and Hoosier Veterans Assistance Foundation greeted the connections of Dot Matrix in the winner’s circle for the presentation.

Dot Matrix paid $5.60, $3.80 and $3.20 across the board. The time of the race was 1:41.10.