Having already won the Aug. 22 Dance Smartly Stakes, a Grade 2 race going 1 1/4 miles on the Woodbine turf, Mutamakina used similar pace-stalking tactics to capture the $600,000 E.P. Taylor Stakes at the same course and distance Oct. 17.
Jockey Dylan Davis was back aboard the 5-year-old Nathaniel mare for trainer Christophe Clement. Mutamakina pressed the pace in second, and while she had control a quarter-mile out in the Dance Smartly before a half-length victory, it was a closer call Sunday.
She didn’t get in front of E.P. Taylor pacesetter Kalifornia Queen until a sixteenth out from the finish line and her stablemate La Dragontea rallied from last of 10 to come within a neck at the wire.
“She ran well over here [last out in the Dance Smartly] and we saw an opportunity again to bring her out here,” Davis said. “Christophe, first off, did a great job of getting her here. I’ve been breezing her, setting up for this race, and she’s been breezing well and maintained herself and we knew that she would be tough coming here.”
Mutamakina, who earned her first top-level victory, completed the 1 ¼ miles on yielding turf in 2:09.14. She paid $19.80 to win.
“She handled everything great,” Davis added. “Last time she put herself in a great position laying second. Today, again, she got her nerves going a little bit more than previously, but she put herself in a great position putting herself second. We slowed down the pace and she was handling it well for me and I just needed her to finish strong. Once she got a head in front there at eighth pole she was digging in nicely. She handled the turf well today.”
Mutamakina is owned by Al Shira’aa Farms and was initially campaigned in France by the same owner with trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias. She was moved stateside to Clement’s barn last fall and has since won three graded stakes. She owns a 5-3-3 record from 16 career starts and has earned $634,509. Bred in Great Britain by Widgham Stud, Mutamakina is out of the Danehill mare Joshua’s Princess.
Avie’s Flatter Tough as Nails in Nearctic
Ivan Dalos’ Avie’s Flatter made amends for a winless 2020 campaign in landing a second graded stakes score on the year in the Nearctic Stakes. Under Luis Contreras, he finished with a flourish, prevailing by a half-length over Turned Aside.
A Canadian champion 2-year-old in 2018, Avie’s Flatter began his 5-year-old season with a facile allowance-optional claiming win on the Woodbine main track before capturing the July 18 Connaught Cup sprinting seven furlongs on the turf. After a fourth in the King Edward Stakes when stretched out to a mile, he tackled the Ricoh Woodbine Mile in his most recent start, finishing a troubled ninth.
Cutting back to six furlongs in the Nearctic, the son of Flatter went to post at 7-1 odds against a competitive field of 10 that included Woodbine Mile hero Town Cruise and King Edward victor Olympic Runner.
American shipper Momos grabbed the early the lead, as Town Cruise shadowed the pacesetter through an opening quarter timed in :22.72, with Avie’s Flatter positioned fourth by Contreras. Past a half-mile in :45.95, Town Cruise began a steady retreat as Avie’s Flatter and 17-1 shot Turned Aside began their assault on the leader. Avie’s Flatter seized command down the lane and opened up a narrow advantage over a tiring Momos as Olympic Runner launched a furious rally from the back of the pack. At the wire, Avie’s Flatter secured a half-length victory over a game Turned Aside. Another length back, Olympic Runner was third, besting Momos by a neck for the show.—BloodHorse Staff Report