Oaklawn News

Hot Springs, Ark. (Sunday, Feb. 15, 2015) – Following in the footsteps of Don’t Tell Sophia, who won both the Pippin and Bayakoa Stakes in 2013 and ’14, Shadwell Farms’ Mufajaah repeated her Pippin performance with an equally impressive win in Sunday’s $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes (G3). Thanks in part to Grade 1 winners Don’t Tell Sophia and Tiz Miz Sue, the 2013 runner-up, the Bayakoa carried graded status for the first time this year.

Mufajaah raced in last place as Call Pat led through opening fractions of :23 3/5 and :47 3/5 for the first half mile. Gold Medal Dancer assumed the lead as the field rounded the turn for home, but at the same time, the winner was finding her best stride and dug in willingly to win by a neck over Flashy American. Gold Medal Dancer held on for third. The final time was 1:45 over a fast track.

“I knew we had the right kind of pace, at least an honest pace,” said winning trainer Danny Peitz. “It was definitely a little deeper field. There was a little more quality in this race. She was still able to do her job.”

“She broke towards the rail a little bit at the start, but I just got her to relax and she started picking up the bit on her own,” added winning rider Manny Esquivel. “I went wide in the second turn but she took care of me. As soon as she changed leads she started picking it up down the lane and was game for the win. She never gave up and galloped out great. She’s an exciting filly to ride and I’m thankful for the chance.”

Peitz had said before the race that the plans are to retire Mufajaah to Shadwell Farm’s broodmare band. However, he wouldn’t be disappointed if those plans changed.

“Sheikh Hamdan’s been a great client for me,” said Peitz. “I’m just happy that we could win a graded stake with this filly. I know she loves Oaklawn. Maybe the general manager, Rick Nichols, will have a little talk with ‘The Boss’ and see if we can talk him into leaving her here and letting us run her through the year. Just with the Azeri and Apple Blossom here, it would be great if we could run in all four of these races.”

Mufajaah has now won five of 12 starts and has earned $237,140. The 4-year-old Tapit filly returned $5, $3.20 and $2.60 as the 3-2 favorite in the field of 10.

Live racing is scheduled to resume Monday for a special Presidents Day card featuring the $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) and the $55,000 Progressive Cash Giveaway. First post is 1 p.m.