DEL MAR, CA – Jockey Flavien Prat and Majestic Heat proved that two noses are better than one, holding off Moonless Sky and overcoming a nine-month layoff to repeat their slim win in last year’s event and take Friday’s $150,000 Solana Beach.
After initially trailing How Unusual through the first 1/4-mile in :23.72, Majestic Heat used her inside speed to take over, leading the field in fractions of :48.77, 1:13.09, and 1:36.35. Moonless Sky, meanwhile, saved ground stalking the pace through the far turn and into the stretch drive. With about 1/16 of a mile from the finish line, jockey Kent Desormeaux swung out Moonless Sky and surged to the outside of the leader. The two dueled gamely, with the Richard Mandella trainee holding off her foe just long enough at the line, crossing first by a nose in a final time of 1:42.38 for the 1 1/16-mile race.
“She’s terrific,” said Prat. “She’s so game. Richard does such a good job with her. She dug in there at the end. She felt that other horse (Moonless Sky) come to her, and she dug in. She’s very game; a good horse.”
Last year, Prat and Majestic Heat had tracked the lead into the stretch run before taking the lead and just nosing out Tiz a Kiss. She completed last year’s event in 1:34.98, but that edition was run at a mile. This year’s race was her first since November 6, 2016, so Mandella was especially happy to see her repeat.
“It’s a great feeling, especially (because) the mare had been off for a long time,” he said. “I didn’t have quite as much time to get her ready, but she’s good enough to overcome my training. We pushed her along, but she took it. If it looked like she wouldn’t take it, we wouldn’t have done it, but she seemed to enjoy it, so we pushed her along.”
How Unusual held on for third, a head in front of Lynne’s Legacy, who was another nose past Dressed to a T. Starlite Style, Shehastheritestuff, and Qiaona completing the order of finish.
Majestic Heat returned $3.40 to win, $2.60 to place, and $2.60 to show. Moonless Sky brought back $4 to place and $3 to show, while How Unusual paid $4 to show.