Tim Yakteen might be lacking a stable star in the truest sense but he suggests Mucho Unusual is “our queen” after her latest win in the Grade 3 Robert J. Frankel Stakes at Santa Anita.
The John Velazquez-ridden Mucho Unusual finished with a real flourish in taking the $100,000 contest over one-mile-one-furlong on the turf track at Santa Anita.
The California-bred daughter of Mucho Macho was rebounding after being well beaten in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland last month.
Having established herself around two-lengths off the pacesetting She’s Our Charm, Mucho Unusual was able to challenge on the outside three-furlongs from home and overcome the frontrunner as well as favourite Miss Tehera for a relatively comfortable success under a hand-ride from Velazquez.
“She broke good and it looked like the one speed filly (She’s Our Charm) would go and she did,” said Velazquez. “Down the backside, Joel (Rosario, aboard Miss Teheran) moved a little early and I also wanted to make sure I put a little pressure on the two (She’s Our Charm) because she had been running easily. Turning for home, I asked her and she finished up great.”
Mucho Unusual was sent off second-favourite for the contest, over a course-and-distance where she had previously led from the front to win the Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) back in September.
She turns five on New Year’s Day and, her latest success having increased her career earnings to $762,715, she’s the star turn for her trainer’s operation.
“We had an outside draw and that was a little bit of a concern,” said Yakteen. “There was one lone speed in the race. She is such a dream to train, so easy, so straightforward, she makes my job easy. She’s my queen. We don’t have a big stable but she’s our queen.”
Irish-bred Miss Teheran had been seeking her breakthrough success at stakes level after being shipped in from South Florida by trainer Chad Brown but things didn’t go her way early in the piece.
A hesitant beginning saw her shuffled back into the pack and she raced keenly under Joel Rosario thereafter, the rider being forced to make his move perhaps earlier than desired when a gap opened on the rail at the half-mile pole. He got to the leaders but was powerless to thwart the winning run of Mucho Unusual on his outside.