Cozi Rosie used a splendid rail-skimming ride from Garrett Gomez to capture the $250,000 John C. Mabee Stakes (gr. IIT) by a half-length on the Del Mar turf Aug. 14 (VIDEO).
Jerry and Ann Moss' homebred daughter of Pleasantly Perfect --Felidia (by Golden Fleece) captured the third graded win of her career at odds of 4-1. Trainer John Sadler added blinkers to the 4-year-old chestnut filly's equipment for the first time.
Cozi Rosie, closing stoutly at the rail after advancing into contention for Gomez, collared pacesetter Wasted Tears in deep stretch and held off the late charge of stalking Malibu Pier under left-handed urging. She was timed in 1:47.69 for the 1 1/8-mile distance on firm ground, less than three seconds off the track mark of 1:44.79 established by Aragorn in 2006.
"I just wanted to try to save ground and see how it went for the first half mile," Gomez said. "See where we were then, how fast were we going, where was everybody. I was in the right spot and she gave me all I asked for. I couldn’t have asked her to do any more for me than she did today."
Gomez and Sadler teamed to win the Mabee with Black Mamba in 2008, the final year that the race for fillies and mares was ranked as a grade I event by the American Graded Stakes Committee.
Sadler said the Yellow Ribbon Stakes (gr. IT) over 1 1/4 miles at Santa Anita Oct. 1 is next on the agenda for Cozi Rosie. "Hopefully after that we’ll be on to Kentucky (for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf).”
Malibu Pier edged Wasted Tears for second by a head. The Texas-based Wasted Tears won last year's Mabee by a nose for trainer and owner Bart Evans.
“She’s an honest mare and she ran well today," Flores said of Wasted Tears. "I liked the splits and she was running well. She was getting out just a little bit on the turn when they came to her. In a race like this, you can’t give anything up. It makes a difference."
Dual grade I winner Harmonious, the 9-10 favorite in the field of seven, rallied belatedly while attempting to close from last on the far outside for jockey Joel Rosario. She finished a non-threatening fourth.
“She broke just a little slow and I didn’t want to rush her up for position," Rosario said. "She likes to run from there. I was OK with that. Then we shifted out to finish and she ran well coming home. But they were really rollin’ up front. They just didn’t stop. This was a good bunch.”
As the field made its way in single file, Wasted Tears, ridden by David Flores, clipped off comfortable fractions of :23.78, :48.15, and 1:12.69 while leading Medaglia d'Amour and Malibu Pier. Cozi Rosie ranged up from fifth on the final turn and continued to find room along the inside as Wasted Tears raced off the rail.
Cozi Rosie got by the leader just past the entrance to the main course from the turf chute. She finished strongly under urging from Gomez as Malibu Pier made it close in spite of problems. Her rider, Brice Blanc, lost his left iron at the start of the race and dropped his whip near midstretch.
"I don't think they hurt her," Sadler told TVG about the addition of blinkers to Cozi Rosie. "They're very little, just to keep her focusing.
"Mainly, we think she's been unlucky in her recent races," Sadler added. "She was literally almost dropped last time at Hollywood Park. She's just been unfortunate. Gomez's ride today was a 10. We had the perfect lane and we squeaked by on the inside."
Cozi Rosie was coming off a troubled second to Malibu Pier when she clipped heels early in the Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Hollywood turf course June 26. She was third as the favorite behind the victorious Dubawi Heights in the Gamely Stakes (gr. IT) May 30, and second to Malibu Pier in the Santa Barbara Handicap (gr. IIT) six weeks before that. Her last win came in Santa Anita's one-mile Buena Vista Handicap (gr. IIT) Feb. 21.
The consistent filly improved her career record to 5-3-2 in 13 races with earnings of $477,280. The winner's share was $150,000.
Sharing top weight of 121 pounds with the favorite, Cozi Rosie paid $10.40, $5.20, $3.60 as the third choice. Malibu Pier, also racing for the first time since her 1 3/4-length win in the Beverly Hills, returned $5.40 and $3.60. The exacta was worth $47. Wasted Tears, who could have surpassed the $1 million mark in career earnings with a win, paid $3.60 to show.
Harmonious, a half-length behind Wasted Tears in fourth, was followed by Go Forth North, Turning Top, and Medaglia d'Amour.
Royal Heroine (gr. IIT) winner Celtic Princess, expected to be a leading contender, was a significant scratch by trainer A.C. Avila after she reportedly spiked a fever on the morning of the race.