Vasilika gets up in final strides to win Del Mar's John C. Mabee

August 31, 2019 07:47pm
Vasilika gets up in final strides to win Del Mar's John C. Mabee
Photo: Benoit

Vasilika mounted a furious rally in deep stretch to just edge Juliet Foxtrot in Del Mar's Grade 2, $200,000 John C. Mabee Stakes on Saturday.

Vasilika, who had a four-race win streak snapped in the Yellow Ribbon (G2) last time out with jockey Flavien Prat out of town, raced unhurried with her primary rider back aboard, saving ground in the 1 1/8-mile turf event behind fractions of :23.23, :46.70 and 1:10.76 for six furlongs.

Juliet Foxtrot, who was pressing the pace under Drayden Van Dyke, spurted clear of the field on the far turn and looked like a winner in deep stretch. But rallying along the outside came Vasilika, who got up in the final strides under Flavien Prat to best Juliet Foxtrot by a nose on the wire.

Toinette checked in third. The final time was 1:46.46. Trackus had Vasilika's final quarter-mile in :23.26, with Juliet Foxtrot clocking in at :23.72 while traveling one foot less.

Vasilika, who also won last year's Mabee, has won five of six starts this year, all in graded stakes. Winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer credited Prat for a well-timed ride while adding the Breeders' Cup, likely the Filly & Mare Turf, is on the radar. 

"We paid the money to get in [the Breeders' Cup], so we'll see what happens,” Hollendorfer said. “I don't know where her next race will be. It will be either at Santa Anita or in Kentucky...but we'd like to go to the Breeders' Cup if we can.”

The championships run in early November at Santa Anita Park, where track operator The Stronach Group has banned Hollendorfer from stabling and racing his horses. Back in June, Jim Gluckson, a spokesman for the Breeders' Cup, told Horse Racing Nation that 
"the entry process for the World Championships races is controlled by the Breeders' Cup.

"The decision to accept or deny entries from Mr. Hollendorfer or any other trainer will be evaluated at that time in light of our rules and the circumstances prevailing at that time."

Hollendorfer had also been banned from entering horses at Del Mar before a San Diego Superior Court judge granted a temporary injunction lifting the ban on July 26. This is his third stakes win at the current meet and third in the Mabee. 

Vasilika improved her overall record to 34: 18-4-4 with earnings approaching $1.5 million for owners All Schlaich Stables and Gato Racing.


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