ARCADIA, CA – George Krikorian’s homebred Mucho Unusual put forth a monstrous performance on Monday, stretching out to two turns and trying the turf for the first time to great aplomb in the $200,000 California Cup Oaks at Santa Anita Park.
Breaking alertly from post 2 under Joel Rosario at 10/1 odds, Mucho Unusual established command heading into the first turn before posting fractions of :24.14, :48.84, and 1:12.97. Though Tiz a Master was glued to her right hip heading into the far turn, Mucho Unusual dispatched of her midway through the turn and emerged onto the front stretch full of run. Drawing off sharply under a vigorous hand ride, the Tim Yakteen trainee crossed with a 3-length advantage in a final time of 1:36.92 for the mile-long event over the good turf course.
“I know she showed speed last time going short and it looked like she was going for speed,” Rosario said. “I just let her be happy where she was and ended up being in the lead. I was just trying to let her be happy where she was. It was very nice. Thank you to George and Tim for the opportunity; I appreciate that, too.”
Lippy came running up the rail for second, taking it by a 1/2-length over Lakerball. Further behind came Hot On the Trail in fourth, taking that by a 1/2-length over the even-money favorite Apache Princess, who fell victim to a terrible trip after stumbling out of gate 9.
“She stumbled leaving the gate and then she got knocked sideways into the first turn,” said Apache Princess’ pilot Kent Desormeaux. “She never seemed comfortable. I even looked down at the 1/8 pole to make sure, ‘Mama, are you okay?’”
Silk From Heaven, Kookie Gal, a weakened Tiz a Master, and Creative Instinct completed the order of finish.
Mucho Unusual’s win was her first since breaking her maiden here on October 4, going 6 1/2 furlongs over the main track while defeating Apache Princess by 8 1/4 lengths. The 3-year-old daughter of Mucho Macho Man, a 1/2-sister to graded stakes winner Big Score, now sports a record of 5-2-2-0 with $200,420 earned.
“What went into the decision was the stakes schedule, her action, being out of the Unusual Heat mare, and her half-brother is a turf performer,” Yakteen said. “Absolutely surprised there wasn’t more speed. On paper, there was quite a bit of speed but it turned out we were (the speed), and Joel took the lead and took command of the race.”
Mucho Unusual returned $23.80 to win, $11.20 to place, and $6.20 to show. Lippy brought back $24.80 to place and $11.40 to show, while Lakerball paid $4.40 to show.