KRIKORIAN HOMEBRED MUCHO UNUSUAL PROVES BEST BY 1 ¼ LENGTHS IN GRADE I, $300,000 RODEO DRIVE STAKES; YAKTEEN & HERNANDEZ TEAM FOR MILE AND ONE QUARTER TURF WIN IN 2:00.19
UPSTART HERNANDEZ GETS FIRST CAREER GRADE I WIN; RACE IS A BREEDERS’ CUP ‘WIN & YOU’RE IN’ CHALLENGE RACE QUALIFIER
ARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 26, 2020)–George Krikorian’s homebred Mucho Unusual, the lone California-bred in the field, dictated terms throughout and proved best in Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Rodeo Drive Stakes, winning by one and a quarter length while providing jockey Juan Hernandez with his first career Grade I victory and his third win on the day. Trained by Tim Yakteen, Mucho Unusual, a 4-year-old daughter of Mucho Macho Man, got a mile and one quarter on turf in 2:00.19.
In hand as the field crossed under the wire for the first time, Mucho Unusual enjoyed a one length advantage over eventual fourth place finisher Tonahutu up the backside, increased her lead to two lengths turning for home and was never seriously challenged while holding Maxim Rate safe in a visually impressive win.
Most recently a close third at 1-2 versus state-breds in the one mile turf Solana Beach Stakes at Del Mar Aug. 15, Mucho Unusual, who was second in her only other try at a mile and a quarter, was off at 3-1 in a field of six fillies and mares and paid $8.80, $4.40 and $2.40.
With the winner’s share of $180,000, Mucho Unusual, who like her jockey picked up her first Grade I win, increased her earnings to $702,715. Out of Krikorian’s Unusual Heat mare Not Unusual, Mucho Unusual notched her third stakes win and improved her overall record to 16-5-3-4.
Maxim Rate, who was a close third in the early going behind the winner and Tonahutu, was off at 5-2 and paid $3.80 and $2.60 while finishing a length in front of 7-5 favorite Lady Prancealot.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Lady Prancealot finished with her ears pinned but couldn’t make the necessary late gain and had to settle for third money while returning $2.10 to show.
The lone Cal-bred in the field, Mucho Unusual, in addition to winning with authority, galloped out strong following the finish.
Fractions on the race were 24.29, 49.52, 1:14.07 and 1:37.28.
The Rodeo Drive Stakes is a Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge Race qualifier, with the winner to receive a fees-paid berth into the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland on Nov. 7.