Mauralakana, the leading filly and mare turf runner in the country, looks to add to her already dazzling resume in the $600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT) at Belmont Park Sept. 27.
Belmont Park’s turf will take significant rain – if the forecast holds up – from Thursday evening until early in the day Saturday. With a long spell of dry weather, the turf has been firm recently.
The 1 1/4-mile Flower Bowl, a prep race for the $2-million Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT) at Santa Anita Park Oct. 24, drew six runners.
Christophe Clement, Mauralakana’s trainer, had The Weather Channel on in his office at Belmont Park Sept. 25.
“That’s great,” Clement said in exasperation as he watched a large area of rain move north on the radar. “I don’t know if she likes soft or not, but I don’t see why (soft) would be more of a problem for her than anyone else in the race,” Clement said. “We’re here in New York, the timing is right for the Breeders’ Cup. The logistics are right.”
Mauralakana, who is owned by Robert Scarborough, has won five of six starts in stakes this year. Her first win in 2008 came in the Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park over yielding ground. The 5-year-old daughter of Muhtathir also won the Beverly D. (gr. IT), New York Handicap (gr. IIT), Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT), and Mairzy Doates.
Kent Desormeaux rides Mauralakana, who has displayed a quick turn of foot in the races she has won this year. She drew post 4.
The Rusty Arnold-trained Communique came from off the pace to finish second to Mauralakana in the Beverly D. at 1 3/16 miles. The added distance of the Flower Bowl and Comminque’s ability to handle soft going – she won the Modesty (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park over a course with give in it – are positives for the 4-year-old daughter of Smart Strike.
Glens Falls (gr. IIIT) winner Hostess would be questionable to start if the turf were soft. Trained by Jim Bond, Hostess ran a bang-up race to finish third to Mauralakana in the New York Handicap, when beaten less than a length for the win.
The Bill Mott-trained Dynaforce must atone for a disappointing fifth-place finish as the favorite in the 1 3/8-mile Glens Falls at Saratoga Sept. 1. Earlier in the summer, she nearly defeated Mauralakana in the New York Handicap at Belmont, when she finished second, beaten a neck. Dynaforce also was second in Saratoga’s Diana (gr. IT) to Forever Together.
Forever Together’s trainer, Jonathan Sheppard, has entered Palmilla, the Glens Falls runner-up. Jade Queen, the third-place finisher in the Glens Falls, completes the field.
$600,000 Flower Bowl Invitational (gr. IT, Race 7, 4:13 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies and Up, 1 1/4 Miles (Turf)
Post Horse Weight Jockey
1. Palmilla, 119, Edgar S. Prado
2 . Communique, 119, Javier Castellano
3. Dynaforce, 119, Alan Garcia
4 . Mauralakana, 123, Kent J. Desormeaux
5. Jade Queen, 119, Rafael Bejarano
6. Hostess, 119, Rajiv Maragh