Mopotism grabs first graded score in La Canada

Horse Racing

ARCADIA, Calif. — On her 11th attempt, Mopotism won a graded stakes in Saturday’s Grade 2 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita.

The victory in the $201,035 race for fillies and mares was well-earned and occurred at the expense of Mended, whose 10-race winning streak ended with a narrow loss by a head.

The two dueled through the final furlong before Mopotism ($6) took a narrow lead at the finish.

“She’s fit so she got us to the wire and we got the bob,” said winning jockey Mario Gutierrez.

Mended, who had her graded stakes debut in the La Canada in her 27th career start, finished a head in front of the 27-1 outsider La Force, who closed steadily to just miss. The disappointment in the field of eight was Majestic Heat, the 6-5 favorite who finished fifth.

Majestic Heat was last to the turn and closed with a wide rally to finish 2 3/4 lengths behind Mopotism. Mike Smith, who rode Majestic Heat, dropped his stick in the final sixteenth, though her chances had largely dissolved by then.

Shenandoah Queen, the winner of the restricted Tranquility Lake Stakes at Del Mar in August, finished fourth. Sandy’s Surprise finished sixth, followed by Union Strike and Resky Business.

Mopotism, the second choice in the betting, ran a mile in 1:37.29.

Mended, the winner of the Claiming Crown Glass Slipper Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 2, set a pace of 23.81 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 47.94 for a half-mile, leading by as much a length. She was challenged by Mopotism in the final sixteenth and only yielded the lead in the final strides.

Mended was claimed for $12,500 at Golden Gate Fields in January 2017 by current owners Troy and Maritza Onorato and trainer John Martin.

“I’m so proud of her,” Troy Onorato said while standing trackside.

“I’m disappointed that we lost the head bob, but I’m not disappointed in her. Isn’t she something?”

Mopotism is trained by Doug O’Neill and has won 3 of 15 starts and earned $561,200 for Paul and Zillah Reddam. Her only previous stakes win was the minor Island Fashion Stakes at Sunland Park last February.

Last year, Mopotism started in nine graded stakes, including a 10th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and third in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes at seven furlongs on Dec. 26.

She was beaten a head in the Grade 2 Summertime Oaks for 3-year-old fillies here last June.

By Uncle Mo, Mopotism was third in the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos in 2016.

“Mopotism should have won the Grade 2 here last spring, but she got beat a head,” Paul Reddam said. “This was a good win for us all the way around.”

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