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Mauralakana's big win sets up Breeders' Cup trip
By Mike Spellman | Daily Herald Staff

Jockey Kent Desormeaux guides Mauralakana down the stretch to the finish line ahead the the pack in The Beverly D. at Arlington Park Saturday.

 

John Starks | Staff Photographer

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Published: 8/9/2008 11:52 PM

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Little did Mauralakana realize just how close she was to running the last of her career as she entered the starting gate Saturday afternoon at Arlington Park.

"It was do or die for Mauralakana," owner Robert Scarborough said. "Had she been beaten or behaved in mediocre fashion, I probably would have sent her to stud (as a broodmare)."

Um, a little change of plans.

A rousing victory in the the Grade I $750,000 Beverly D., her fourth straight victory, now has Scarborough and trainer Christophe Clement aiming higher for Mauralakana.

"She's won and she's won like a horse that deserves to be run at Grade I levels," Scarborough said. "Christophe will now be responsible for guiding her to Breeders' Cup Day at Santa Anita."

Jockey Kent Desormeaux was the man guiding the 5-year-old mare for the 1 3/16-mile trip over Arlington's firm turf course Saturday, as the duo sat chilly behind front-running Dreaming of Anna and the favored Precious Kitten before making a three-wide move heading into the stretch and holding on for a 1¼ lengths win over Communique (12-1) and 50-1 longshot Toque de Queda.

"She stays in the (bit) and I was pretty confident in her turn of foot, so I wasn't about the ones in front of me," Desormeaux said. "I just didn't want anyone coming from behind to get me."

Minutes after winning the Secretariat aboard Winchester, Arlington's leading rider, Rene Douglas, made a desperate attempt to make it two in a row by splitting horses late and closing with a rush to get up for second.

"She ran a helluva race," Douglas said. "The winner was beginning to back up a little to me, but it was a little too late.

"I'll take the second. I'm so proud of the way my filly ran today."

Precious Kitten, with Rafael Bejarano aboard, went off as the 9-5 favorite and was in contention much of the way before fading late and finishing fifth.

"The distance just got to her," Bejarano said. "She's a very good filly; she just got tired today."