Ridden by Kent Desormeaux, the 5-year-old French-bred accelerated while coming out of the final turn, caught pacesetter Tejida at the eighth-pole and then out-finished Dynaforce, who came between horses to challenge gamely under John Velazquez. Mauralakana also had to stave off a late bid by Hostess, as she came from the outside and finished only a neck behind Dynaforce.
The final time for 10 furlongs on Belmont’s inner turf was 2:01.31.
A daughter of Muhtathir, Mauralakana is now 4-1-0 from five starts this season. She has captured the Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream Park, the Mairzy Doates at Calder Race Course and Sheepshead Bay. Her only loss was by just over a length to Hostess in the Orchid Handicap (gr. IIIT). As a result, she was sent off as the 3-5 favorite in a field of five.
"We got a little spoiled because last time she won by three lengths,” said trainer Christophe Clement, who took over training duties from Patrick Biancone last year. “Today, she won the race in a matter of strides. Kent knows her well and rides her with a lot of confidence. The others finished well.”
Tejida was the pacesetter in the New York, racing to an uncontested lead under Carlos Marquez Jr. The Rahy mare was able to get away easy, posting fractions of :24.34, :49.61, 1:13.86 and 1:38.10. Dynaforce was in stalking position the whole way, while Mauralakana rated comfortable near the inside, never far back and poised to make her bid.
That bid came three-wide heading into the stretch, as the favorite stormed into contention during the straight away. Tejida gave way grudgingly in mid-stretch, while Dynaforce, making her North American debut for Bill Mott, split those two and was game for the long drive. It wasn’t until she was inside the sixteenth-pole that Hostess made her bid.
But Mauralakana found the wire just in time to earn yet another victory.
“The ground is a little more glib than last time,” Desormeaux said. “She kicked just as hard; unfortunately, so did they. It turned into a fight, a battle, and she kept going. She’s something else, man. She lets the rider know when she’s ready to go. It’s not ridiculous pull but she’s on the bridle. She’s well-trained.”
Owner Robert Scarborough, who purchased her as a broodmare prospect for $900,000 at the Keeneland 2007 November Breeding Stock Sale, plans on sending Mauralakana to Australia next year. But first she will be pointed towards the Aug. 9 Beverly D. at Arlington Park. She is now 10-3-3 from 25 starts with earnings of $1,013,012.
The winner paid $3.30, $2.20 and $2.10. The exacta (3-1) was worth $10.
Tejida was fourth, followed by Archstone.