Michael Matz

Birth Date: Tuesday, January 23, 1951
Birth Place: Redding, Pa.

2012-13 Gulfstream Record
Starts 1st 2nd 3rd Earnings
83 12 8 8 $361,337
Career: Matz saddled Hard Not to Like for a victory in the Marshua’s River (G3) during the 2012-13 meeting.
 
During the 2011-12 meeting, Matz prepared Union Rags for the Triple Crown at Gulfstream. Union Rags turned in a dominating four-length triumph in the Fountain of Youth (G2) in his seasonal debut but could only manage a third-place finish in the Florida Derby (G1) at 2-5 favoritism.  He finished seventh in the Kentucky Derby (G1) but rebounded to win the Belmont Stakes (G1) in what would be the last race of his career. Matz saddled Teeth of the Dog for a maiden victory at Gulfstream, and the 3-year-old colt went on to finish third in the Wood Memorial (G1), fifth in the Preakness (G1) and win the Dwyer (G2). 
 
Matz will always be best known for his steadfast guidance of Barbaro through a schedule that parlayed Holy Bull Stakes (G3) and Florida Derby (G1) victories at Gulfstream into a dominating 2006 Kentucky Derby triumph. When Barbaro was injured in the Preakness, Matz remained close to his star throughout the rest of his life at the New Bolton Equine Hospital in Pennsylvania. 
 
Matz would return to Churchill Downs that November to win the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic with Round Pond. 
 
He narrowly missed in his attempt to win two straight runnings of the Florida Derby when Chelokee finishing third in 2007 behind Scat Daddy. Chelokee would go on to win two stakes that summer including Pimlico’s Barbaro Stakes on the Preakness undercard. 
 
Before moving into thoroughbred training, he was a Hall of Fame equestrian, competing in three Olympic Games and helping guide the U.S. team to a silver medal in 1996. 
 
 
Matz also trained Kicken Kris to win the 2004 Arlington Million and won the 2006 Herecomesthebride Stakes with Aunt Henny. 
 
In 2003, Kickin Kris gave Matz his first career Grade 1 in the Secretariat Stakes.
 
Other: His wife, D.D., is daughter of prominent breeder Helen Groves and granddaughter of Robert Kleberg, who founded Texas’ King Ranch and bred and owned Triple Crown winner Assault and 1950 Kentucky Derby winner Middleground. 
 
He earned five gold medals in jumping at the Pan American Games. He rode jumper Jet Run in 1981 World Cup. 
 
In 1989 he and D.D. were among 111 survivors of a plane crash in Iowa in which Matz helped lead three children to safety before returning to the wreckage to help others. Those children, now grown, were on hand for Barbaro’s Kentucky Derby win.