J K Racing Stable’s Mokat made a huge move on Del Mar’s far turn to storm home the 3 3/4-length winner of Saturday’s Grade 2 San Clemente Handicap. Under a perfectly-timed ride from Kent Desormeaux, the sophomore daughter of Uncle Mo clocked a final time of 1:35.23 for a mile over the firm turf, earning her first graded stakes victory for trainer Richard Baltas.
As expected, Belvoir Bay and Florent Geroux went straight to the lead, but the smallish, quirky filly proved difficult once again, lugging out to nearly the five-path approaching the first turn. Geroux got her straightened out to hold a single-length lead over Lady Valeur and Jade Princess to mark a quarter-mile in :23.14. Behind the leading three was a three-wide group of Be Mine, Mokat and Gone to Bali, with Stays in Vegas near the rear of the field. Belvoir Bay made a half-mile on the lead in :47.06, but the field was bunching up behind her approaching the far turn.
Belvoir Bay lugged out again mid-way through the final turn, leaving room for Lady Valeur to make the lead up the rail. Mokat, who had been covered up between horses, suddenly found herself with room to run three-wide. When Desormeaux hit the gas on the large bay filly, she accelerated very rapidly, making the lead before the field straightened for home and drawing away down the length of the stretch to win by 3 3/4 lengths. Lady Valeur had to settle for second, while Stays in Vegas did some late running to wind up third.
Bred in Kentucky by Dr. Charles S. Giles, Mokat is out of an unraced daughter of the graded stakes-placed Premiership (Exclusive Native). Mokat chased Songbird in her two starts prior to the Kentucky Oaks, finishing behind the champion filly both times before traveling to Kentucky to finish 13th. The San Clemente is her first start since the Oaks, and her fourth lifetime start on turf, over which she broke her maiden. Overall, the filly has put together a record of two wins, two seconds and two thirds for earnings of $ 285,000.
Watch the race replay here:
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