Purchased for $900,000 at the Keeneland 2007 November Breeding Stock Sale, Mauralakana has raced her way to a terrific investment for Scarborough, as she has produced a 3-1-0 record from four starts this year. The wins included the March 8 Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park, the April 26 Mairzy Doates Handicap at Calder Race Course, and most recently the March 24 Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT) at Belmont, where she pulled away in the stretch under Kent Desormeaux to score by three lengths.
As of now, the plan for the 5-year-old mare is to begin her broodmare career in Australia next year, but trainer Christophe Clement plans of enjoying her while she is still racing.
“She’s the type of mare who has just done everything right,” said Clement, who has saddled the daughter of Muhtathir--Jimkana to three victories in four starts since taking over her training late last year from Patrick Biancone. “Her last race to me was her most impressive. She has a good turn of foot at the end of her races.”
Bred in France by S.A.R.L. Classic Breeding and Maurice Hassan, Mauralakana has racked up a 9-3-3 mark from 24 starts. She began her racing career in France before making her American debut in the fall of 2006. Desormeaux will get the call once more in the New York Handicap, and will be part of a 123-pound impost that Mauralakana must overcome. She will give 3-7 pounds to her four rivals.
“That makes it a more difficult assignment,” Clement said.
William Clifton Jr.’s Hostess will be a familiar rival for Mauralakana, as the two will meet for the fourth time this year in the 1 1/4-furlong grass event. Hostess has the honor of being the only horse to defeat Mauralakana in 2008, that coming in the March 30 Orchid Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream when the 5-year-old daughter of Chester House won by 1 1/4 lengths under John Velazquez. Hostess was seventh in the Very One and third in the Sheepshead Bay.
Trained by H. James Bond, Hostess was third in last year’s New York Handicap. Rajiv Maragh will ride her for the first time Saturday.
Mauralakana’s biggest challenge could come from a mare making her American debut and entering off a 10-month layoff – Dynaforce. The 5-year-old daughter of Dynaformer has made all seven of her starts in France for Ja Chandler. Most recently she was third by two lengths in the Aug. 19 Darley Prix Jean Romanet (Fr-II). Previously trained by Andre Fabre, she is now handled by Bill Mott. Dynaforce has been working steadily at Belmont, her last breeze coming June 16 when she went five furlongs in 1:03.31 on the main track. Velazquez will get the call.
Also entered are 5-year-olds Tejida and Archstone. Helen Groves’ Tejida was just a neck back of Mauralakana in the Very One after stalking the pace and taking a short lead into the stretch. Most recently she was runner-up by a half-length in the April 24 Grey Goose Bewitch Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Keeneland. Michael Matz trains the Rahymare.
Spring Waltz was entered as main track only.
$250,000 New York Handicap (gr. IIT, Race 9, 5:17 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/4 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Weight, Jockey
1. Dynaforce (KY), 116, John R. Velazquez
2. Hostess (KY), 120, Rajiv Maragh
3. Mauralakana (FR), 123, Kent J. Desormeaux
4. Archstone (KY), 116, Michael J. Luzzi
5. Tejida (KY), 116, Carlos H. Marquez, Jr.
MTO Spring Waltz (KY), 116, (No Rider)