Mutamakina makes the grade in Long Island (G3)
by Keith McCalmont
Al Shira’aa Farms’ Mutamakina rallied up the rail under Dylan Davis to collar fellow Christophe Clement trainee Traipsing in the final stride in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Long Island, an 11-furlong inner turf test for fillies and mares 3-years-old and up, at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Traipsing, under a heady ride by Kendrick Carmouche, led the twelve-horse field over good turf through moderate splits of 26.10, 52.62 and 1:19.76 as Beau Belle tracked her early foot with Eliade chasing along the rail in third.
Mutamakina, content to rate in fifth position, sat a patient trip under Davis as Traipsing led confidently through the final turn and opened up a 2 ½-length lead at the stretch call. Inside the final furlong, Traipsing was still moving well but Davis went to work on Mutamakina, who responded with a powerful turn-of-foot to overtake Eliade and Delta’s Kingdom and squeeze up the rail past Traipsing in the shadow of the wire. She stopped the clock in 2:21.08 for the three-quarter-length win.
It was another 1 3/4-lengths back to Delta’s Kingdom in third. Eliade, Theodora B., Wegetsdamunnys, English Affair, With Dignity, Beau Belle, Pretty Point, Hungry Kitten and Siberian Iris completed the order of finish. Also-eligible Lovely Lucky was scratched.
Clement, the Big A fall meet’s leading trainer with 14 wins, said he was pleased with the ride by Davis aboard Mutamakina, who entered from a troubled third in the 1 ½-mile Zagora on October 31 over yielding Belmont Park turf.
“Traipsing set up a perfect pace; she looked great. My other filly [Mutamakina] was very game,” said Clement. “Dylan gave a great ride. He wasn’t a long way off the pace and she was travelling well down the backstretch. I’ll have to talk to the owner, but she might stay another year. Obviously, the way she ran today, she will be an exciting prospect for the 1 ½-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.”
Davis, who won three races on Saturday, finished second in a pair of stakes earlier on the card with Monday Morning Qb in the Grade 3 Discovery and El Tormenta in the Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship.
The veteran rider said he was nervous when Traipsing kicked away in the stretch run.
“I didn’t think I was going to get there at first because I saw Kendrick pull away a bit, but she does take a little bit of time to get running,” said Davis. “When she started moving, I knew it was over. Within the last eighth of a mile she was just getting into stride and I was just staying out of her way and keeping her happy. She was able to get up, which was nice.”
Stone Farm homebred Traipsing entered from a front-running score in 1 1/16-mile optional-claiming tilt on the September 26 on firm Belmont turf and nearly held on under Carmouche, who leads the Big A fall meet jockey standings with 16 wins.
“My horse ran very well and I loved her today,” said Carmouche. “Coming out of a mile-and-a-sixteenth race, I thought I would be right there on the lead. She ran really well. The favorite beat me, but my horse did a good job.”
Bred in Great Britain by Widgham Stud, Mutamakina banked $55,000 in victory while maintaining improving her record to 11-3-2-2. She was making just her second start for Clement after winning a pair of races in France last year for former conditioner Carlos Laffon-Parias.
Mutamakina returned $5.90 for a $2 win ticket as the 9-5 mutuel favorite and her card-closing score secured a hefty $482,817.70 single-ticket payout of the Empire 6 jackpot.
Live racing resumes Sunday at the Big A with a 10-race card highlighted by a trio of $100,000 stakes, including the Grade 3 Fall Highweight Handicap for 3-year-olds and upward going six furlongs over the main track; the Tepin for juvenile fillies going 1 1/16 miles over the turf; and the Autumn Days at six furlongs on turf for fillies and mares 3-years-old and upward. First post is 11:50 a.m. Eastern.