Royal Heroine was the first graded stakes win for Magic Mission.

Royal Heroine was the first graded stakes win for Magic Mission.


Magic Mission Collects First Graded Win in Royal Heroine

Sheik Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum's Magic Mission ended her seven-race losing streak at Hollywood Park Saturday, circling the field coming out of the turn for home to score an upset in $112,200 Royal Heroine (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares by a head over Little Treasure.

The English-bred 5-year-old bay mare by Machiavellian, trained by Neil Drysdale and ridden by Corey Nakatani, earned her first graded stakes victory.

She came from well out of it with a six-wide move into the stretch to win in 1:34 1/5 for the one-mile turf event on a firm course. Belleski was two lengths behind the first two finishers to be third.

Southern Oasis, the 9-5 favorite in a field of nine, was boxed in on the turn and was blocked until mid-stretch, finishing seventh.

But Magic Mission, allowed to range up on the outside of the field on the turn, encountered no such problems. She was well off the early pace of :23 3/5, :47 2/5 and 1:10 4/5 established by Little Treasure, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, who battled Angel Gift and Polygreen early.

""The trip was perfect," said Nakatani. "I just let her quicken into the stretch and she took off."

Despite drifting in a bit down the lane, Magic Mission made quick work of her opponents and appeared to be ready to blow by Little Treasure, who had been facing constant pace pressure. But the game filly battled back and the two put on a great stretch duel.

Magic Mission had lost six consecutive graded stakes races, but was second or third in four of them.

"She deserves to finally win a group race," Drysdale said. "The Maktoums were very gracious to keep her in training this year and she has responded in kind."

After arriving from France in May 2002, Magic Mission won two of her first three races in the United States, but hadn't won one since September. Now four of 21 lifetime, she earned $67,320 for the victory to push her overall prize money to $327,946.

Sent off as the fifth choice at 6-1, Magic Mission paid $14.60, $8.40 and $4.80. Little Treasure returned $10.40 and $6.20. Belleski, who was ridden by Victor Espinoza, paid $3.60. The $2 exacta was worth $130.40.

(Chart, Equibase)