Mooji Moo Grabs Moola In Nextel Sprint

Mooji Moo cleared the field early and had enough to hold off Bold Roberta in Saturday's $300,000 Sunshine Millions Nextel Filly & Mare Sprint to tally a 17-1 upset under a light rain at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Corey Nakatani for trainer Timothy Hills and New Jersey owners Robert Deckert Sr. and Robert Deckert Jr., the Florida-bred Mooji Moo defeated 49-1 shot Bold Roberta by a three quarters of a length in 1:09 1/5 for the six-furlong sprint. Favored Bear Fan at 3-2 and Channing Way finished in a dead heat, another three-quarters of a length behind Bold Roberta.

A 5-year-old Jeblar mare, Mooji Moo improved her career record to 9-6-2 in 25 starts while earning $165,000. She now boasts career purses of $453,450. Hills was at Gulfstream to saddle Stormy Roman in the Sunshine Millions Turf.

Mooji Moo popped the gate in front, covering the opening quarter mile in :21 3/5 while maintaining the advantage over Icantgoforthat down the backstretch. Dueling from the inside while slightly off the rail, she completed the opening half in :44 1/5.

Bold Roberta, ridden by David Nuesch, edged up on the outside of the field on the turn for home as Mooji Moo inched away in the stretch. Bold Roberta had a good aim on the leader as they battled under pressure down the lane, but Mooji Moo would not be caught.

"She's a nice filly," Nakatani said of the winner. "All I had to was keep her out of trouble and get her around the racetrack, and that's what I did."

Nuesch, aboard the runner-up Bold Roberta, noted, "She is content to be on the outside so it was good that we had the outside post even though we did loose some ground, but for her it worked out good."

Bear Fan, with jockey Jerry Bailey along, was boxed in while rallying from mid-pack in the stretch, came out late and caught pace-prompting Channining Way and Glenn Corbett late.

"She refused to run until the stretch and when we did get room to run it was too late," Bailey said.

Farnsworth Farms bred Mooji Moo, who was a $33,000 Ocala Breeders' buy in June 2001. Mooji Moo was coming off a second-place finish in a minor stakes at Tampa Bay Jan. 3.

Mooji Moo paid $37.40, $18 and $8. Bold Roberta returned $33.40 and $10.40. Bear Fan's show was $2.40 and Channing Way's was $7.

Second choice Barbara O'Brien was fifth, a neck behind, followed by Icantgoforthat, Madame Pietra, Super High, Vision in Flight and Nicole's Pursuit. Princess V. scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)