Going to Vegas and Del Mar’s leading rider Flavien Prat sat a perfect trip and then pulled clear at the top of the stretch en route to capturing the John C. Mabee Stakes (G2) by 2 ¼ lengths at Del Mar on Sept. 4.
Trained by Richard Baltas, Going to Vegas rated second behind pacesetter Nasty through fractions of :24.20 and :47.80 for the 1 1/8-miles turf test. The 4-year-old daughter of Goldencents then took over in upper stretch to earn the sixth win of her career and increase her earnings to $454,151.
“She was where she wants (second, stalking position) from the start,” Baltas said. “She’ll rate now, she used to not rate. I’m very proud of the horse coming back fairly quickly from the (allowance win) at the start of the meet to win a mile and an eighth graded stakes. (On the overflow crowd of owners in the winner’s circle) This is great. They’re all having fun and that’s what it’s all about.”
Going to Vegas is owned by three racing groups – Abbondanza Racing, Medallion Racing or MyRacehorse – and came into the race off a victory in an allowance test at Del Mar on July 16. Saturday’s triumph also marked her second career graded stakes win as she previously captured the Santa Ana Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park in March.
Finishing second in the John C. Mabee was Dogtag, who was a length and a quarter clear of Bodhicitta (GB) in third.
The winner, the 19-10 race favorite, returned $5.80, $3.20 and $2.60. Dogtag returned $2.80 and $2.40, while Bodhicitta paid $2.80 to show.