Reddam Racing LLC’s Mopotism got the head-bobbing win on Saturday in Santa Anita Park’s $201,035 La Canada Stakes (G2) with jockey Mario Gutierrez aboard.
The Uncle Mo filly was part of a three-horse photo on the wire of the one-mile contest, and managed to get her head down in front of Mended, who had that same margin to spare on La Force.
Mended attempted to lead all the way home, gunning to the lead with the gates opened and setting splits of :23.81, :47.94 and 1:12.32. Resky Business pressed her early on the outside before fading and leaving the way clear for Mopotism to slip up between the pair. That Doug O’Neill-trained four-year-old was followed by La Force just behind down on the rail.
Mended drifted off the inside rounding the turn and La Force took full advantage to range up on the inside of the longtime leader. Mopotism slowly inched forward outside of Mended while La Force dug in for her own challenge. The trio hit the wire together, with only two bobbing heads separating the runners.
Mopotism paid $6.80 as the near 5-2 second choice, and finished a mile over Santa Anita’s fast dirt in 1:37.29.
Shenandoah Queen and 6-5 favorite Majestic Heat also hit the wire together behind the top three, with the former’s nose securing fourth place. Sandy’s Surprise followed, another 2 1/4 lengths adrift of Majestic Heat, while Union Strike and Resky Business completed the order of finish.
Mopotism earned just her second stakes win here, and her first victory since recording her initial black-type score in the Island Fashion Stakes at Sunland Park last February. Following that triumph the bay daughter of Uncle Mo was fourth in the Santa Anita Oaks (G1), unplaced in the Kentucky Oaks (G1) and strung together a pair of runner-up efforts in the Summertime Oaks (G2) and Indiana Oaks (G3).
Unplaced in her next three races, all Grade 1s, Mopotism closed out her sophomore campaign with a third-placing in the La Brea Stakes (G1) last out on December 26. The La Canada win boosted her career earnings to $561,200 and she now boasts a 15-3-4-2 scorecard.
Bred in Kentucky by Frank T. Batten, Mopotism is the first registered foal out of the Bernardini mare Peppy Rafaela, who is a half-sister to Grade 2 winner Songster.
LA CANADA QUOTES
Mario Gutierrez, jockey Mopotism, winner
“The thing about Mopotism is that she has a lot of heart. 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.”
J. Paul Reddam, owner Mopotism, winner
“You know, I watched it live and at first I thought she got there but then I saw the replay and thought, ‘oh no! She got bobbed.’ I think she was lugging in a little too there so I think it was harder to push by. It was nice to end up on the right side of the photo but I also felt bad for the mare we beat, Mended. She’s a great story. She raced her guts out.
“We got class relief today from who we’ve been running against. Mopostism should have won the Grade 2 here last spring but she got beat a head (Summertime Oaks.) 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.
“I think that being an Uncle Mo, it’s one thing to say you’re graded-stakes placed but I think 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.”
Leandro Mora, assistant trainer Mopotism, winner
“This is a good filly. 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 big step in the right direction. She is more than capable of doing this.”
John Martin, trainer Mended, second
“Tough beat. She tried hard, she dug in.”
Paddy Gallagher, trainer La Force, third
“She nearly knocked it down. I’m glad we had her nominated. We’re super pleased. We took a big shot and we’d have liked to have won it, but to be placed in these kinds of races is a good thing.”