March 23, 2019

Competitionofideas last to first in American Oaks; Fahan Mura all the way in Frankel

Competitionofideas and jockey Joel Rosario win the American Oaks at Santa Anita © BENOIT PHOTO

Trainer Chad Brown plundered yet another major turf prize out west, courtesy of Klaravich Stables’ Competitionofideas in Saturday’s $301,035 American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita.

The East Coast shipper was making her graded debut in the 1 1/4-mile feature, and bettors dispatched her at what turned out to be a generous 5-1. Under patient handling by Joel Rosario, Competitionofideas swooped from last to first in a virtuoso display.

In the early going, 90-1 longshot K P Pergoliscious set the pace, tracked by her Jeff Mullins stablemate Amandine, through splits of :24.02, :47.86, and 1:11.95. Amandine, wheeling back just three days after a convincing tally in the Lady of Shamrock on opening day, accosted her as they passed the mile in 1:35.84, and appeared poised to go on turning into the stretch. But K P Pergoliscious was stubbornly persistent on the inside, and wider out, the winner was just coming into view.

Competitionofideas surged down the lane to overwhelm them both and win going away. Rapidly opening up by 2 3/4 lengths, she clocked 1:59.77 on the firm turf.

“She broke well, we saved ground, and we took one shot,” Rosario recapped.

“I thought we would be closer but everybody wanted their spot so I just let her settle.

“I always have to thank everybody for giving me the chance to ride here again,” Rosario added of his shift to Santa Anita for the winter, “and I really appreciate everybody. My plan for 2019 is just to see how it goes and go from there. We’ll see what happens.”

K P Pergoliscious belied her odds to salvage second by a head from the 4-1 Amandine. Next came Colonia, Paved, Princess Warrior, non-threatening 2-1 favorite Californiagoldrush, and the tailed-off Retro. Kodiak West was scratched.

Unraced at two, Competitionofideas took four tries to break her maiden, but progressed swiftly from her September 7 romp to capture an allowance over the same Belmont turf October 21. She might have made it a hat trick if the November 22 Winter Memories had stayed on the grass. The dark bay tried her luck when it was switched to the Aqueduct dirt, where she closed from far back to snatch third. Her resume now reads 7-3-1-2, $315,568.

It’s fitting that the final Grade 1 of 2018 went to a horse co-bred by Team Justify. Competitionofideas was bred by John Gunther and daughter Tanya’s Eurowest Bloodstock Services in partnership with Tony Chedraoui. By Speightstown and out of the Grade 3-winning Medaglia d’Oro mare Devil by Design, Competitionofideas brought $325,000 as a Keeneland September yearling.

Fahan Mura and jockey Edwin Maldonado win the Robert J. Frankel at Santa Anita © BENOIT PHOTO

Earlier in the $151,035 Robert J. Frankel (G3), 8-5 favorite Fahan Mura held sway from wire to wire to earn her first graded score.

Trained by Vladimir Cerin and piloted by Edwin Maldonado, the daughter of English Channel scampered clear through fractions of :23.48, :47.43, and 1:11.15, and maintained a two-length margin at the mile mark in 1:34.78. Excellent Sunset, the 2-1 second choice, made headway inside the final furlong, but Fahan Mura found enough to fend her off by three-quarters of a length. Quebec ran evenly in third, while Escape Clause was inconvenienced en route to fourth.

“She’s become so much more professional,” Maldonado said. “She used to pull quite a bit, but now, she relaxes so nice.”

Cerin credited the rider for Fahan Mura’s evolution.

“I leave it in Edwin’s hands. He’s improved her by letting her be herself. He never interferes with her. He’s a big reason why she’s doing well.”

Bran Jam Stable and David W. Clark’s Fahan Mura, who negotiated 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.85, has now earned $431,815 from a record of 23-9-2-4. The reformed claimer also wired the July 20 Osunitas S. at Del Mar and the October 7 Swingtime S. at Santa Anita, placed in the John C. Mabee (G2) and Goldikova (G2), and most recently faded to 12th in the Matriarch (G1).

Bred by Michael J. Moran in Pennsylvania, Fahan Mura is out of the winning Giant’s Causeway mare Celtic Cross. This is the further family of Broodmare of the Year Sweet Life, dam of two Breeders’ Cup winners in champion Sweet Catomine (2004 Juvenile Fillies [G1]) and Life Is Sweet (2009 Ladies’ Classic [G1]).