Hot Springs, Ark. (Saturday, Feb. 14, 2015) – Mufajaah bids for her second consecutive stakes victory in the $100,000 Bayakoa (G3) for older fillies and mares Sunday at Oaklawn. It’s the first time the Bayakoa, Oaklawn’s second major prep for the $600,000 Apple Blossom (G1) April 10, has been graded since it was inaugurated in 1992.
The Bayakoa goes as race 8 on a nine-race program, with probable post time of 4:42 p.m. (Central). Mufajaah is the 5-2 program favorite off a three-length victory in the $100,000 Pippin Stakes Jan. 17.
Trainer Dan Peitz said the Bayakoa may be the final career start for Mufajaah because her owner, Shadwell Stable, normally breeds its 4-year-old fillies.Mufajaah, Peitz said, has continued to train well for the Bayakoa, which drew a field of 10.
“She seems happy,” Peitz said Friday morning. “Hopefully, she runs back to the Pippin, and that race will be good enough.”
The Pippin was Mufajaah’s third victory in five career starts at Oaklawn. She broke her maiden in Hot Springs last February, then won a first-level allowance/optional claiming race. Her only other career victory came last fall at Churchill Downs in a second-level allowance race.
“She likes it here,” Peitz said.
Peitz has given the mount again to newcomer Emmanuel “Manny” Esquivel, leading rider at the recently concluded Hawthorne meeting. Mufajaah is scheduled to break from post 5 and carry 117 pounds under allowance conditions for money won.
Haunted Heroine and Pearl Turn, second and third, respectively in the Pippin, are also entered. Gold Medal Dancer is scheduled to make her 2015 debut for trainer Donnie K. Von Hemel, who saddled Euphony to win the 2009 Bayakoa.Gold Medal Dancer is unbeaten in two career starts at Oaklawn and trained forwardly for her 2015 debut, Von Hemel said.
“Very happy with her,” Von Hemel said.
The most accomplished member of the field is multiple stakes winner Flashy American, who has bankrolled $663,183 in her 32-race career. She is coming off a ninth-place finish in the $100,000 She’s All In Handicap Dec. 14 at Remington Park in Oklahoma City.
Trainer Kenny McPeek said the daughter of Flashy Bull didn’t handle the trip well. Following a brief freshening, she enters the Bayakoa off two works at Oaklawn, including a Feb. 6 5-furlong move (1:02) in company with stablemate The Truth Or Else, who is scheduled to make his 3-year-old debut in Monday’s $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3).
Chris Landeros is to ride Flashy American, who is scheduled to break from post 10 and carry equal top weight of 119 pounds.
Courageous Julie, Lady Haddassah, Call Pat, Bella Velcoe and Diva’s Diamond complete the field. Call Pat exits a fourth-place finish in the Pippin. Bella Velcoe, a supplemental nominee, was a first-level allowance/optional claiming winner Jan. 22 for trainer Ron Moquett.
The complete field for the $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3), in post position order, with riders and morning line odds: Courageous Julie, Alex Birzer, 12-1; Haunted Heroine, Joe Rocco Jr., 4-1; Lady Haddassah, Israel Ocampo, 20-1; Call Pat, Ricardo Santana Jr., 12-1; Mufajaah, Emmanuel Esquivel, 5-2, Gold Medal Dancer, Luis Quinonez, 4-1; Bella Veloce, Ramon Vazquez, 20-1; Pearl Turn, Jesus Castanon, 12-1; Diva’s Diamond, Cliff Berry, 8-1, and Flashy American, Chris Landeros, 5-1.