A Mo Reay benefitted from all the pressure put on pacesetter Lovely Ride early in the race and swept to the lead late to win Saturday’s Grade 3, $250,000 Bayakoa Stakes in front of an on-track crowd of 21,000 at Oaklawn.
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Ridden patiently by Florent Geroux, A Mo Reay was fifth early as Lovely Ride, looking for her third straight stakes victory, bounced to the lead and set fractions of 24.24 and 48.07 seconds for the first half-mile while heavily pressured by Graysonsmacho Gal.
Lovely Ride shook free around the turn for home and opened up a two-length lead before a fast closing A Mo Reay caught her in the final furlongs to prevail by a half-length in 1:45.07 for the 1 1/16 miles on a fast track.
Le Da Vida, who was bred in Chile, was third.
The $250,000 Bayakoa (G3) was won by a game #1 A MO REAY, who defeats #7 Lovely Ride. Uncle Mo filly is trained by @bradcoxracing with @flothejock in the irons. pic.twitter.com/3RroKK0Bc1— TVG (@TVG) February 4, 2023
“It’s funny,” Geroux said. “I was looking at the race, and I think I had ridden four of them before and won on them, so I knew the field very well. It worked out great. I think the trip really helped. I was able to stay inside all the way, crept up a little bit on the backside. At the three-eighths pole I ended up right behind (Lovely Ride). All I had to do was run her down, pass one horse. Very good filly. It was a nice battle all the way down the lane, but the last sixteenth of a mile, my filly made up the difference.”
A Mo Reay, a 4-year-old Uncle Mo filly owned by Hunter Valley Farm and trained by Brad Cox, improved her record to 11: 4-1-3 and has earned $392,650. She paid $6.20, $4.00 and $3.00 as the 2-1 favorite.
“She got a good trip” Cox said. “Florent obviously slipped up the inside and saved some ground. Ultimately, who knows? But it may have made the difference in winning and losing.”