Mauralakana rolls in the Sheepshead Bay.
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Mauralakana rolls in the Sheepshead Bay.
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Coglianese Photos

Mauralakana Explodes in Sheepshead Bay

The 5-year-old mare won her third stakes of the year May 24 at Belmont.

Robert Scarborough’s Mauralakana continued her outstanding season May 24 at Belmont Park when she burst to the lead in upper stretch in the $150,000 Sheepshead Bay Handicap (gr. IIT) (VIDEO) and pulled away for a convincing three-length victory on the inner turf.

A 5-year-old daughter of Muhtathir, Mauralakana is doing nothing to diminish her value as a future broodmare, as the Sheepshead Bay marked her third stakes win of the year, the second in graded competition. Bred in France and trained by Christophe Clement, Mauralakana has claimed the March 8 Very One Handicap (gr. IIIT), April 26 Mairzy Doates Handicap, and was also runner-up to Hostess in the Orchid Stakes (gr. IIIT).

Under the handling of Kent Desormeaux for the first time in her 24-start career, Mauralakana completed the 1 3/8 miles in 2:14.69. Herboriste, who led for most of the way under Garrett Gomez, had to settle for second, while Hostess was third.

“That was a scintillating turn of foot – and a lovely ride, too,” exclaimed Desormeaux, who kept his mount near the back of the pack for a mile before launching the winning bid. “Chris had her breathing fire today.”

Gomez sent Amelie Ehrnrooth’s Herboriste straight to the front from post four and was unchallenged through ordinary fractions of :24.38, :49.83 and 1:14.60. Ochre was in stalking position, while Leap in the Sun and J’ray were also close up.

Herboriste was ahead by a length as she came out of the turn and seemed to be getting away from the field of eight. But coming with a four-wide burst, Mauralakana kicked into another gear approaching the quarter-pole, picked off rivals one-by-one, and corralled Herboriste inside the eighth-pole. She drew clear with right-handed urging.

“She showed a great turn of foot at Calder (in the Mairzy Doates) and a great turn of foot today,” Clement said. “She was very relaxed for Kent. Usually, she is a bit strong. She is a good filly; a nice horse.

“She was bought as a broodmare prospect for Australia. The plan is for her to be covered by Sept. 1, and then go to Australia. So we will be looking at the Beverly D. (gr. I, Arlington Park, Aug. 9). Of course, things could change.”

Going off as the favorite, the winner paid $5.40, $3.60 and $2.80. The exacta (8-4) returned $38.60, while the trifecta (8-4-2) was worth $101.

Mauralakana began her career in France racing for M. Maurice Hassan and trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. She won four times over there, including the group III Prix de Cabourg. The bay was trained by Patrick Biancone after first coming to the states, but after being purchased for $900,000 by Scarborough at the Keeneland 2007 November breeding stock sale, was transferred to the barn of Clement.

Out of the Double Bed mare Jimkana, Mauralakana is now 9-3-3 in her career and has earned $863,012.

Leap in the Sun was fourth, followed by Rising Cross, J’ray, Ochre, and Flawless Treasure. Flawless Treasure was pulled up midway down the backstretch and vanned off.

(Chart, Equibase)