Black Mamba Snakes Through in Mabee 'Cap
Photo: Benoit
Black Mamba overcame trouble in the stretch to win the John C. Mabee (gr. IT).
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Odds-on choice Black Mamba unleashed a powerful kick in the final furlong to overcome a bit of traffic trouble and earn grade I glory for the first time in the $400,000 John C. Mabee Handicap (VIDEO) on the Del Mar turf Aug. 3.

The New Zealand-bred made it back-to-back graded victories for trainer John Sadler, defeating the late-charging outsider I Can See by a half-length at odds of 9-10.

The 5-year-old mare enjoyed a ground-saving trip for Garrett Gomez, but it was not trouble-free. After moving up smoothly along the rail to get into contention rounding the final turn of the 1 1/8-mile event, Black Mamba found herself in tight quarters in the stretch as she crept up on pacesetter Passified. With Solva glued to her outside, Black Mamba also lacked room to the inside as Mike Smith, aboard Passified, kept that path closed off. Black Mamba reached mid-stretch with no place to run, but Solva, ridden by Aaron Gryder, sputtered at that point, giving the favorite just enough room to angle out. Black Mamba surged by Passified in the final sixteenth and held off I Can See, closing in the middle of track for Corey Nakatani.

"I was hoping he'd (Smith) take a couple of feet off the fence," Gomez told TVG. "But he didn't and we got pretty close to clipping heels (with Passified). Fortunately, Aaron began to run out of horse and I finally got some daylight. I thought I'd be in trouble even when I uncovered her. But today, she showed a little more versatility. She was a little bit handy and that's what makes a grade I horse."

Passified, who ran a game race at a distance longer than she prefers, held on for third, three-quarters of a length behind I Can See. She carved fractions of :24.48, :48.51 and 1:11.79 on firm going. The final time was 1:47.11

Black Mamba ended a streak of seven in-the-money stakes performances without a victory for Sadler when she won the 10-furlong Beverly Hills Handicap (gr. IIT) in her previous start June 29. Gomez rode her for the first time that day. This time, she won at a distance she had not tried before while carrying top weight of 119 pounds.

Her fourth win in 20 lifetime starts was worth $240,000 to owner Doubledown Stables Inc. of Richard B. Templer, and boosted her bankroll to $599,171. Black Mamba, a daughter of Black Minnaloushe, began her career in her native county. She won her first U.S. start, an allowance race at Del Mar, one year ago.

The bay paid $3.80, $3 and $2.40, topping a $2 exacta worth $63.40 with the improving I Can See, who returned $10.60 and $5.80 as a 24-1 shot for trainer Steve Knapp. The Great Britain-bred Passified, conditioned by Jim Cassidy, was $3.20 to show.

Foxysox finished fourth, with Solva, Green Lyons, Ransom Captive and Placid Lake following.

View Stakes Details and Full Equibase Chart

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