HEAVILY FAVORED MUCHO UNUSUAL TAKES GRADE III, $100,000 MEGAHERTZ STAKES BY THREE QUARTERS OF A LENGTH UNDER ROSARIO; KRIKORIAN HOMEBRED, TRAINED BY YAKTEEN, GETS MILE ON TURF IN 1:35.89
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 18, 2021)–Although spring training in Arizona and Florida is a month and a half away, George Krikorian’s homebred Mucho Unusual nonetheless took a base on balls Monday at Santa Anita, as she powered to a three quarter length win at odds of 2-5 in the Grade III, $100,000 Megahertz Stakes. Trained by Tim Yakteen and ridden by Joel Rosario, the 5-year-old California-bred mare by Mucho Macho Man got one mile on turf and thus became the Winter Meet’s first two-time stakes winner in the process.
With a pair of program scratches reducing the field of older fillies and mares to four, Mucho Unusual broke alertly from her number three post and was immediately lapped on Chilean import Brooke, who went straight to the lead from her rail post.
Second, while a measured three quarters of a length off the leader at the three furlong pole, Mucho Unusual drew alongside leaving the quarter pole and was carried out to the four-path by Brooke at the top of the lane. From there, Mucho Unusual leveled nicely, put away the pacesetter leaving the furlong pole and easily held sway near the wire as Sedamar mounted a late rally.
An impressive three quarter length winner of the Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes going 1 1/8 miles on turf here on Dec. 27, Mucho Unusual paid $2.80 and $2.10, with no show wagering.
“She’s super honest, we’re excited to have her in the stable, (it’s been) just a great ride,” said Yakteen, who saddled Mucho Unusual for the 19th time today. “…We were thinking about keeping her at a mile and one eighth, mile and a quarter, unfortunately, there really wasn’t anything coming up until the end of March, so we thought we would take advantage of a lighter field.”
Out of Krikorian’s Unusual Heat mare Not Unusual, Mucho Unusual, a winner of the Grade I Rodeo Drive Stakes three starts back at a mile and one quarter on turf Sept. 26, registered her fourth graded stakes win (fifth overall) and improved her career mark to 19-7-3-4. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $822,715.
“I just got a good break and see what I had,” said Rosario. “I went to the first turn and it looked like the one horse (Brooke) really wanted to go to the lead, so I just waited behind (her) a little bit. This horse is really good…Thank you to the team and to George (Krikorian) for the opportunity.”
Sedamar, like the winner, a Cal-bred, was an attentive fourth early and was carried five wide turning for home while rallying as second-best. Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Sedamar was off at 7-2 and paid $2.60 to show while finishing a half length in front of Brooke.
Ridden by her regular rider in Chile, Jeremy Laprida, Brooke, who was off at 4-1 in her U.S. debut, came back to the rail after drifting out at the top of the stretch, taking the path of Colonial Creed and Flavien Prat a furlong out. As a result of this interference, Brooke was disqualified by the stewards and placed last.
Fractions on the race were 23.78, 48.00, 1:12.55 and 1:24.43.