An odds-on Bob Baffert juvenile looks home free, only to get run down late by Calumet Farm’s Beautiful Shot. If that story sounds familiar, it’s happened twice now. After rolling from far back to nip the idling 1-2 favorite Nero in their mutual debut at Del Mar, Beautiful Shot created a sense of déjà vu by collaring the 1-5 Mourinho in Sunday’s $73,405 Speakeasy at Santa Anita.
Trained by Keith Desormeaux and again patiently handled by his Hall of Famer brother Kent, Beautiful Shot didn’t come from as deep in the clouds this time. But the 4-1 second choice was still in the latter part of the field through a punishing pace.
Mourinho, like Nero, was ridden by Martin Garcia. He picked up the Speakeasy mount when Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith endured travel woes flying back from Kentucky. Otherwise their respective losses were different, in that Mourinho didn’t throw it away in a case of rookie absent-mindedness as Nero did. Rather, Mourinho appeared to get leg-weary after working hard early, arguing an opening quarter in :21.32 to burn off two pace rivals. While the $625,000 Phoenix Thoroughbred purchase was traveling sweetly as he scampered clear at the half in :44.55, his momentum began to flag as he passed the eighth-pole in :57.31 and looked for the wire.
Beautiful Shot, in contrast, was now full of run. Surging that sixth furlong to overtake the tiring Mourinho, the Trappe Shot colt won going away by 1 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:10.82.
Rallying from even further back was Here Is Happy, who was nine lengths behind Beautiful Shot in last, yet motored in the lane to grab third.
Now two-for-two, Beautiful Shot has bankrolled $79,080. Bred in Florida by Southern Chase Farm, Karen Dodd, and Greg Dodd, the bay brought $105,000 at OBS April. He was produced by the Canadian stakes-placed City Place mare Beauty for Ashes, who is also responsible for Florida juvenile stakes scorer Putyourdreamsaway.
Quotes from Santa Anita
Winning trainer Keith Desormeaux: “With most racing on any level, it’s all about pace. I don’t know what kind of horse, especially a 2-year-old, that can maintain a 44 (second) pace. Kent won the race by judging the pace properly and that’s why he’s in the Hall of Fame.”
Winning rider Kent Desormeaux: “He broke terrible in his first start and he broke a bit slow today…I thought they were rolling in front so I just let them go. I cut the corner and he got covered in sand…When I presented him (turning for home), he just took off. He can run.”