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DEL MAR, CA – Trainer Richard Baltas’ Going to Vegas made it 2 straight scores over the local lawn when the 9/5 favorite conquered Saturday’s $200,000 John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) at Del Mar.
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With Flavien Prat back in the irons for the first time since she was claimed for $50,000 last June, Going to Vegas broke well from post 8 and settled a lane off the rail in second.
Fellow Baltas runner Nasty went to the lead as the field exited the chute onto the turf oval before posting opening fractions of :24.20, :47.80, and 1:12.41, but her advantage disappeared as Going to Vegas took first run in the far turn.
The 2/1 second choice Dogtag attempted to rally from near the rear but couldn’t get close as Going to Vegas held safely in the stretch before winning the 1 1/8-mile firm turf route by 2 1/4 lengths in 1:48.14.
“I had a good post and a good break,” Prat said. “I got right where I wanted to be and we weren’t going that fast. When I asked her, she had a really good turn of foot. She was a winner all the way today.”
Dogtag was 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Bodhicitta, the third Baltas representative in the field of older fillies and mares, with another neck back to Fast Jet Court, a Brazilian-bred import making her first North American start for new trainer Michael McCarthy.
Maxim Rate, Nasty, and Tapwater completed the order of finish. Quiet Secretary and She’s Our Charm scratched.
Going to Vegas’ win followed a 3 1/2-length score over this course and distance in July when the 1/2 favorite against optional claimers and her second at the graded stakes ranks following March’s 1 1/4-mile Santa Ana (G3) at Santa Anita Park. The 4-year-old Goldencents filly improved her record to 21-6-8-2 with $454,151 earned for co-owners Abbondanza Racing, Medallion Racing, and MyRacehorse.
“She was where she wants from the start,” Baltas said. “She’ll rate now; she used to not rate. I’m very proud of the horse coming back fairly quickly from the (win) at the start of the meet to win a mile and 1/8 graded stakes.”
Going to Vegas returned $5.80 to win, $3.20 to place, and $2.60 to show. Dogtag brought back $2.80 to place and $2.40 to show. Bodhicitta paid $2.80 to show.
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