All-out in an effort to run down Northern California invader Mended, the 4-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo surged ahead on the outside in the shadow of the wire, while 27-1 shot La Force finished strongly on the rail. It took a photo finish to separate the trio, with Mopotism emerging victorious by a head.
Former claimer Mended saw a 10-race win streak end in the La Canada, although it looked at first as if she might emerge with yet another victory. The 5-year-old Broken Vow filly set fractions of :23.81, :47.94, and 1:12.32 in the one-mile test, while Mopotism moved up between horses from fourth in the field of eight to secure a stalking position.
With jockey Mario Gutierrez putting her under a drive around the turn for home, Doug O'Neill-trained Mopotism gradually wore down the front-runner through seven-eighths in 1:24.50. The final time was 1:37.29 on a fast track.
"The thing about Mopotism is that she has a lot of heart," Gutierrez said. "We had a better trip this time and I was able to move her even though I had to move her a little earlier than I wanted. She's fit, so she got us to the wire and we got the bob.
"I think she's a little unlucky. To win these types of races you need a bit of luck sometimes, and I think she's been unlucky at times."
Mopotism was entered off a third-place finish behind Unique Bella and Paradise Woods in the Dec. 26 La Brea Stakes (G1). Since breaking her maiden she has tangled with the best of her division, starting with a runner-up finish to Unique Bella in the 2017 Las Virgines Stakes (G2).
"This is a good filly," assistant trainer Leandro Mora said. "She's always been a good filly and we know she can run with any grade 1 horses. She needs to learn how to win and today should be a big step in the right direction. She is more than capable of doing this."
Mopotism won the Island Fashion Stakes in February of 2017, ran fourth in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) won by Paradise Woods, and was 10th behind Abel Tasman in the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1). She missed by a head to Faypien in the Summertime Oaks (G2), was second by a length to Overture after encountering traffic trouble in the Indiana Oaks (G3), finished seventh in Elate's Alabama Stakes (G1), and was fourth in the Cotillion Stakes (G1) won by It Tiz Well. She finished fifth behind Forever Unbridled in the Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) before capping her 3-year-old campaign with the La Brea third.
"We got class relief today from who we've been running against," owner J. Paul Reddam said. "Mopotism should have won the (Summertime Oaks) here last spring but she got beat a head. Then we went to Indiana to get the graded stakes win but she got locked in and we thought the pace was going to be fast but was crawling. It's just one of those things. She's inching forward now. Being an Uncle Mo, it's one thing to say you're graded stakes placed, but you're still better off being able to say you're a grade 2 winner.
"That was a good win for us all the way around."
The second choice at 2-1, Mopotism paid $6.80, $3.60 and $3.00. Off at 7-1, Mended paid $6.20 and $4.00. La Force, who was also in close attendance throughout, paid $7.40 to show. The order of finish was completed by Shenandoah Queen, 6-5 choice Majestic Heat, Sandy's Surprise, Union Strike, and Resky Business.
Mopotism improved her overall mark to 15-3-4-2, with earnings of $561,200. Bred in Kentucky by Frank T. Batten out of the Bernardini mare Peppy Rafaela, she was a $300,000 purchase by Dennis O'Neill from Crupi's New Castle Farm at the 2016 Fasig-Tipton Florida select 2-year-olds in training sale.