Mauralakana, given a perfect ride by Kent Desormeaux, swept to her first grade I victory in the $750,000 Beverly D. (VIDEO) over the Arlington Park turf Aug. 9, winning her fourth consecutive race for trainer Christophe Clement.
The 5-year-old mare, purchased by Robert Scarborough as a broodmare prospect for $900,000 at the Keeneland 2007 November Breeding Stock Sale, has never been better, notching her fifth win in six starts this year.
With the Beverly D. victory, Mauralakana earned an automatic starting berth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) as part of the "Win and You're In" challenge. Scarborough plans on sending her to Australia next year.
Clement also captured the Beverly D. with Royal Highness last year. He won the race in 2001 with England's Legend as well.
Positioned perfectly by Desormeaux in fourth on the outside of pacesetter Dreaming of Anna and 9-5 choice Precious Kitten, Mauralakana rallied three wide in upper stretch to duel for the lead. After gaining the advantage inside the furlong pole, she withstood the late charge of Communique to register a 1 1/4-length triumph.
The 50-1 outsider Toque de Queda took for third as Dreaming of Anna and Precious Kitten tired to fourth and fifth, respectively. The final time for the 1 3/16-mile event for fillies and mares was 1:55.18 on good going.
Dreaming of Anna set reasonable fractions of :24.27, :48.64, and 1:12.71 while leading the field into the stretch, where she was quickly tackled by Precious Kitten, who had a great stalking trip, but could not match strides with the winner.
"The distance just got to her," Bejarano said of the favorite. "At a mile to a mile and a sixteenth, no one can beat her. She’s a very good filly. She just got tired today.”
After Mauralakana took control, Communique, who trailed the field for Rene Douglas for the first six furlongs, burst through from between horses to gain the runner-up spot. She finished three-quarters of a length in front of Toque de Queda, a French-raced invader making her first start in the United States with John Murtagh aboard.
"I saved ground, but when the winner opened up at the top of the stretch I knew we had some running to do," Douglas said. "The winner was beginning to back up a little to me, but it was a little too late.”
Mauralakana came into the Beverly D. having won a pair of grade II races at Belmont Park -- the Sheepshead Bay Handicap and New York Stakes -- in succession this spring. Her only loss this year came when she was out-finished by Hostess in the Orchid Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park March 30.
The French-bred bay mare by Muhtathir--Jimkana, by Double Bed, won for the 11th time in 26 starts and boosted her earnings to $1,449,512. The victory was worth $436,500 to the winning connections.
Sent off as the second choice in the field of nine, Mauralakana paid $6.80, $4, and $3.40. Communique, a two-time grade III winner this year for trainer George "Rusty" Arnold II, returned $9 and $6 while completing a $2 exacta worth $65.40. The Great Britain-bred Toque de Queda, trained by Mikel Delzangles, was $13 to show.
Dreaming of Anna and Precious Kitten were separated by a head with Cicerole, another French raider, a head farther back in sixth. Meribel, Ciao, and Rosinka trailed.
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