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Most Valuable Pony (Oct 19-25): Maxim Rate

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.