Kenneth Taylor's Xtra Heat handed Gold Mover her first career defeat, winning the $110,100 Atarita Stakes (gr. II) by a neck Sunday at Belmont Park. Under Mark Johnston, the John E. Salzman-trained Xtra Heat completed the 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.71 on a fast track. Gold Mover was second, a neck in front of Major Wager. Devilish Erica, Majority Whip, Shop Here, Look of the Lynx, and Miss Kate completed the order of finish.
"She just wouldn't let that other filly by," said Johnston. "I thought I was in big trouble in mid-stretch, but she dug in real game. She's a real nice filly."
Xtra Heat (Dixieland Heat--Begin, by Hatchet Man) remained unbeaten in six starts while earning $66,060. She began her career with three consecutive wins at Laurel Park, including two in stakes company, before adding stakes wins at both Philadelphia Park and Delaware Park to her resume. She was bred in Kentucky by Pope McLean Sr, Pope McLean Jr., Marc McLean, Peter Feringa Jr, and others.
Despite her five previous wins, Xtra Heat was sent off at nearly 8-1 and returned $17.80, $4.80 and $3. Gold Mover paid $2.80 and $2.20 in her first race since the Schuylerville (gr. II) at Saratoga in July. Major Wager was worth $2.90 to show. The exacta paid $43.40.
"I think she got a little tired at the end," said trainer Mark Hennig of Gold Mover. "Considering they went in :44 and change and she was wide, I think she ran a good race." Hennig added that the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) remains a possibility but "more than likely we'll try something else." (Chart, Equibase