by Jeremy Plonk
October 26, 2020
Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.
October 19-25, 2020
MVP: Maxim Rate
Owner: Slam Dunk Racing and James Branham
Trainer: Simon Callaghan
Jockey: Umberto Rispoli
Performance: This improving 4-year-old filly pulled clear late to win the Oct. 26 Grade 2 $200,000 Goldikova Stakes on closing day of the Santa Anita autumn meet. Among those in her wake was Grade 2 John C. Mabee heroine Raymundo’s Secret. Behind second, third and fourth quarters in the :23s, she stopped the clock for the turf mile in 1:33.85 and ran her lifetime record to 6: 3-3-0 over her favorite Santa Anita course. Maxim Rate was runner-up earlier in the meet in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes over a mile and one-quarter.
On Tap: The Grade 1 Matriarch at Del Mar on Nov. 29 over the same mile she won the Goldikova is scheduled next, Callaghan said. There’s also the Nov. 26 Grade 3 $100,000 Red Carpet Stakes over 1-3/8 miles, a distance over which she won a stakes at Del Mar in August. Expect her in the Matriarch, however.
Honorable Mentions: Sophomore Monday Morning QB drew off by more than 3 lengths to win the Oct. 24 $150,000 Maryland Million Classic at Laurel Park, besting a field that included recent Grade 3 Pimlico Special winner Harper’s First Ride. Belichick cruised to a 4-length victory in the Oct. 24 $400,000 Breeders Stakes at Woodbine, final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown. Favorite Mighty Heart faded to seventh in pursuit of a historic series sweep. In New York, millionaire 6-year-old Mr. Buff was back to his good self Oct. 24 when running away with the $175,000 Empire Classic at Belmont by more than 3 lengths. King Fury bounced back with a stakes win Oct. 25 at Churchill Downs in the Street Sense, setting the table for the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club over Thanksgiving weekend for the promising 2-year-old.