ARCADIA, CA – George Krikorian homebred Mucho Unusual broke on top and never looked back en route to wiring Saturday’s $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park.
The Rodeo Drive is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with winner receiving an automatic berth in the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland this November.
Sent from post 4 under Juan Hernandez as the 3/1 third choice in the field of six, Mucho Unusual set a measured pace, posting fractions of :24.29, :49.52, 1:14.07, and 1:37.28 through the opening mile.
Set down for the dash home still leading, Mucho Unusual never gave her rivals a fighting chance in the stretch before crossing 1 1/4 lengths the best.
The Tim Yakteen trainee completed the 1 1/4-mile firm turf route in 2:00.19.
“My filly ran very sharp and she was really comfortable in the race,” Hernandez said after winning his first career Grade 1. “They let me go to the lead easily, so I took it, and then the rest of the race, the filly did it by herself. She’s a really nice filly. When I asked her to run at the stretch, she responded really well.”
Maxim Rate was no match for the runaway pacesetter, taking second by 1 length over the 7/5 favorite Lady Prancealot, who rallied from last to third.
Tonahutu failed to capitalize on her early stalking position and weakened to fourth, a head past Pretty Point, while Catch the Eye completed the order of finish.
Bodhicitta was scratched.
Mucho Unusual’s win was her first since the 2019 San Clemente Stakes (G2) and improved her overall record to 16-5-3-4 with $702,715 earned. The California-bred 4-year-old Mucho Macho Man filly’s record at the Grade 1 level is now 6-1-1-1, with both of her best prior efforts at this level coming on the Santa Anita Park lawn.
“It’s super satisfying; words can’t describe how satisfying it is,” Yakteen said. “She’s been such a hard-knocking filly. She’s been knocking on the door with Grade 1s, so to pull this out is amazing. She’s very easy to train and very straight forward. She makes my job easy.”
Mucho Unusual returned $8.80 to win, $4.40 to place, and $2.40 to show. Maxim Rate brought back $3.80 to place and $2.60 to show, while Lady Prancealot paid $2.10 to show.