Brushwood Stable’s Mushka took over approaching the quarter pole, opened a clear lead in the stretch, and held on for a 1 1/4-length victory in the $110,500 Glen Falls Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) Sept. 7 at Saratoga.
A 4-year-old daughter of Empire Maker, Mushka won the second graded stakes of her career— the first since taking the Demoiselle (gr. II) as a juvenile on the Aqueduct dirt in November of 2007. The dark bay or brown filly is trained by Bill Mott.
Mushka raced in second most of the way in the 1 3/8-mile Glen Falls, but was well back of eager pacesetter Zaskar, who sprinted through fractions of :23.93, :48.06, and 1:12.28, and was well clear of the field of 10 through the backstretch.
Mushka, Queen of Hearts, and Caprice all inched closer to the leader as the approached the far turn, but it was Mushka who had the first run at Zaskar and she cut the corner with authority under Kent Desormeaux. Muska opened up a two–length advantage with a furlong remaining and was only mildly threatened by late runs from Lemonette and Queen of Hearts.
The final time on a turf course rated “firm” was 2:13.50. Lemonette, who came from well off the pace under Julien Leparoux, was a neck better than Queen of Hearts for runner-up.
"She broke real smart and everything went according to plan after the break," Desormeaux said. "The distance was fine for her. She was full of run. I can’t do it without an eager mount; and my mount was eager.She cornered in hand, and I hadn’t encouraged her to run yet. She started lengthening her stride, so she was telling me she wanted to go faster.”
Mushka, who was bred in Kentucky by Diane Snowden and is out of the Seeking the Gold mare Sluice, entered the Glen Falls with just one win in seven starts this season, that coming in allowance company at Keeneland in April. She was runner-up by a head in the Feb. 1 Suwannee River (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park and seventh in the Aug. 1 Diana (gr. IT) last out.
"The mile and an eighth is not a bad distance for her, but I don't think she likes soft ground. She has run sub-par races on soft ground," Mott said of Mushka's Diana effort.
“She ran well. It was a good set up and she was on the bridle and traveling really well. Kent said when she turned the corner, she did it all on her own and opened up."
The victory improved Mushka’s overall record to 5-2-3 from 15 starts and she has now earned $423,625.
Sent off as the favorite, the winner paid $7.40, $4.60, and $3.20. The exacta (3-10) returned $120 and the trifecta (3-10-2) was $2,196.
Caprice finished fourth, followed by Bubbly Jane, Astrologie, Tejida, Avie's Tale, Communique, and Zaskar.