A tough-luck third in her U.S. debut last month in the Zagora S., Mutamakina had no easy task either in Saturday’s $100,000 Long Island Stakes (G3) when having to overcome a dawdling pace set by Traipsing. But the 4-year-old was able to sneak up inside that rival in the final sixteenth and won the 1 3/8-mile grass feature at Aqueduct by three parts of a length under Dylan Davis.
Over ground rated good, the 26-1 Traipsing lived up to her moniker when setting sleep-inducing splits of :26.10, :52.62, 1:19.76, 1:45.21, and 2:09.29. Though still looking very tough passing the furlong pole, Mutamakina proved to have the stronger late kick and passed the wire in pedestrian time of 2:21.08.
Owned by Al Shiraaa Farms and trained by Christophe Clement, Mutamakina paid $5.90 as the favorite in a field of 12. Traipsing finished 1 3/4 lengths ahead of another longshot, the 15-1 chance Delta’s Kingdom. Eliade and Theodora B., the third and second choices, respectively, finished fourth and fifth.
As a 3-year-old last season in France, Mutamakina won a small stakes in Vichy but later finished second to Terebellum in the Prix de la Nonenette (G2) and to Sotstsass in the Prix Niel (G2). The latter captured the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) last month.
Imported from France after finishing unplaced in four starts following the Prix Niel, Mutamakina made her debut in the Oct. 31 Zagora at Belmont Park, but finished a half-length third as the favorite in the 12-furlong test following a troubled trip. Her record now stands at 11-3-2-2, $180,845.
“I’ll have to talk to the owner, but she might stay another year,” Clement said. “Obviously, the way she ran today, she will be an exciting prospect for the 1 1/2-mile division. I thought she was extremely unlucky last time at Belmont Park. I was delighted to see her win. She deserved a graded stakes win.”
Bred in England by Widgham Stud, Mutamakina is by Nathaniel and out of Joshua’s Princess, by Danehill. Her third dam was the 1995 Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) and Irish classic winner Ridgewood Pearl.
Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship
Making his first start since the death of owner Paul Pompa Jr., who unexpectedly passed away on Oct. 9, Turned Aside lived up to his name by beating older rivals in the $100,000 Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship under Jose Lezcano.
“It brings tears to my eyes with his family here; his brothers, his wife and sons,” trainer Linda Rice said. “I just wish Paul could have been here today. He would have been so excited. Anyone who has crossed paths with Paul Pompa, I’m sure is going to miss him a lot. He was just a treasure to train for.”
Rating in the catbird seat as 3-1 favorite Sayyaaf and Hollywood Talent dueled up front, Turned Aside took the lead from that weakening pair at the top of the stretch and held on to win the 6-furlong dash by 1 1/4 lengths.
Turned Aside finished up in 1:10.89 and paid $12. El Tormenta finished second by a length over True Valour. Sayyaaf trailed the field of 10.
This was the second career stakes win for Turned Aside, who landed the Quick Call (G3) versus 3-year-olds at Saratoga on July 24. In one interim outing, Turned Aside finished fifth in the Franklin-Simpson (G3) as the favorite.
“We took him to Kentucky Downs but he didn’t care for the course, so we were hoping to turn him around to his previous form,” Rice said.
Bred in Kentucky by Pompa, Turned Aside is by American Pharoah and out of the Grade 3-placed Sustained, by War Front.
Central Park Stakes
In the $100,000 Central Park Stakes for 2-year-olds, Never Surprised led wire-to-wire under Kendrick Carmouche to improve to 2-for-2 in his young career. The winning margin was 1 3/4 lengths over second choice Hard Love, with Take Profit 10 lengths farther behind in third.
Owned by Repole Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher, Never Surprised covered 1 1/16 miles on the inner turf in 1:43.74 and paid $6.50 as the 2-1 favorite.
Never Surprised is by Constitution and out of Tiz Dixie, by Tiznow. A winner on debut by 3 1/2 lengths at Aqueduct on Nov. 8 going 6 furlongs on the turf,
“We were running back off short rest after an impressive debut, going from a maiden to a stake, going from short to long, and going from firm to soft ground. We pretty much threw the book at him today,” Pletcher said.
“It obviously is the last opportunity to run on the grass here. The options were to wait for Florida. I just wanted to see how he does with three weeks in between races. He had a nice breeze and has been doing well, showing good energy, so we felt like we should do it.”