02/15/2015 6:45PM

Mufajaah earns back-to-back stakes with Bayakoa win

Coady Photography
Mufajaah wins the Bayakoa Stakes by a neck Saturday at Oaklawn Park.

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. – Mufajaah closed from last to win her second straight stakes of the Oaklawn Park meet Sunday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Bayakoa. The neck victory over Flashy American came following Mufajaah’s last-to-first score in the $100,000 Pippin on Jan. 17.

The Bayakoa, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares, was elevated to Grade 3 status for 2015.

Mufajaah ($5) raced about 10 lengths off the pace early as Call Pat, Courageous Julie, and Gold Medal Dancer dueled through an opening quarter in 23.67 seconds and the first half-mile in 47.71. Gold Medal Dancer took the lead outright midway on the final turn but in deep stretch could not hold off the late-running, mid-track rush of Mufajaah.

“I was little bit worried whether we were going to have enough pace,” said Dan Peitz, who trains Mufajaah.

But the trainer said after he saw a handful of horses dueling, he knew the pace would be honest. He also noted the field was deeper than the one Mufajaah faced in the Pippin.

“She was able to still do her job,” said Peitz.

Manny Esquivel was aboard Mufajaah, who covered the distance on a track rated fast in 1:45.04.

Mufajaah, a 4-year-old daughter of Tapit and the Grade 2-winning mare Carolyn’s Cat, races for Shadwell Stable. Peitz said the well-bred filly has been a candidate to be retired to the breeding shed. Peitz said decisions on her future status would have to be discussed with Rick Nichols, the general manager of Shadwell.

The next race for Mufajaah’s division at Oaklawn is the Grade 2, $300,000 Azeri on March 14. It is the final steppingstone to the Grade 1, $600,000 Apple Blossom Handicap.

Gold Medal Dancer held third in the Bayakoa, finishing a half-length behind the runner-up Flashy American. It was another half-length back in fourth to Pearl Turn.

Mufajaah earned $60,000 for the win, her second career stakes victory. She now has won 5 of 12 starts and $237,140. Mufajaah was bred in Kentucky by William K. Warren and Suzanne Warren.