Mo Cuishle, Jose Santos aboard, wins the Monmouth BC Oaks, Sunday at Monmouth Park.

Mo Cuishle, Jose Santos aboard, wins the Monmouth BC Oaks, Sunday at Monmouth Park.

Equi-Photo, Bill Denver

Mo Cuishle Looks Like a Million at Monmouth

Undefeated Mo Cuishle won her graded stakes debut Sunday for trainer Todd Pletcher, crushing five rivals in the $200,000 Monmouth Park Breeders' Cup Oaks (gr. III) for 3-year-od fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

Mo Cuishle (pronounced 'muh kwish-la'), a $325,000 daughter of Saint Ballado--Officiate (Deputy Minister), has won the first three races of her career. She went off at odds of 3-1 and won by an official margin of 7 1/4 lengths.

Jose Santos had the pushbutton ride on the dark bay filly. Racing off the rail, Mo Cuishle prompted the pacesetting Peak Maria's Way into the turn, surged up on the outside to get the lead, and spurted away in the stretch, drawing off under slight urging to win in 1:43 flat on a fast track.

"She's a real nice filly," said Santos. "She has a bright future ahead of her. In my opinion, she's going to be a champion later on.

"I made sure to keep her to the outside. I had no doubt about this filly. When she won her maiden, I was impressed; when I rode her last time, I was even more impressed. That's why I rode her to the end today. She was much superior."

Gasia, the second choice in the field of six at 5-2, was a clear second by 1 1/2 lengths under Mario Pino. Peak Maria's Way and Stewart Elliott held third by a half-length over Last Romance after setting early fractions of :23 2/5 and :47 2/5. Mo Cuishle put her head in front after six furlongs 1:11 4/5.

Love Locket finished fifth. Amandatude, the slight 2-1 favorite, chased the leaders early on the outside of Gasia but came up empty for Joe Bravo in the stretch and finished last.

Mo Cuishle won the first two races of her career at Delaware Park. She debuted at six furlongs June 17, winning by 4 1/4 lengths. In her first route, a 1 1/16-mile first-level allowance heat July 16, she won by 3 1/2 lengths as the 7-10 favorite. The winner's share Sunday, $120,000, pushed her earnings to $164,400 for owners Johns Martin, Tom O'Grady, and Bill Rucker.

She paid $8.40, $4.60, and $3.80. Gasia, who ran third in the Delaware Oaks (gr. II) in her last start, returned $4 and $2.80. Peak Maria's Way paid $4.

Aaron and Marie Jones bred Mo Cuishle - who was sold as a yearling at Keeneland in 2004 - in Kentucky.

The Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks, which was run for the 82nd time Sunday, was first contested in 1871, four years before the first Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).

In the first race on the card, a new record was set for the lowest trifecta payoff in track history when the $2 wager returned $9.20. Sunday's record low trifecta combined Waltz Brightly, sent off at 1-5, with Moonlight Aria ($7.60-1) and Holly Hedge ($4.30-1).

The old record of $15.80 was set on Aug. 4, 2002 when War Emblem, at odds of 3-10, bested Magic Weisner ($5.50-1) and Like a Hero ($6.10-1) in that year's renewal of the $1 million Haskell Invitational (gr. I).

(Chart, Equibase)