Shahama stalked pacesetting favorite Juji's Map before exploding to the lead off the turn and sailing clear to her first U.S. victory in the GIII Monmouth Oaks Sunday on the Jersey Shore. Sent off at 8-5, the bay shadowed Juji's Map, the 4-5 favorite, through fractions of :24.67 and :48.71. Nudged at into the far turn, Shahama surged to the lead after three-quarters in 1:11.88 and bound away to an easy win.
“We thought Brad Cox's horse [Juju's Map] would be on the lead and we would be sitting second and that's just how it played out,” said Anthony Sciametta, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher. “She's been training in New York and shipped down for this Saturday afternoon and did well and was well behaved. I know everyone who is around her likes her. She has a lot of class, as you can tell. I thought it was a two-horse race. You don't like to say that, but we thought it was between Juju's Map and us. Shahama was really good today.”
Winning jockey Jorge Vargas agreed the two favorites were the obvious class of the field.
“No disrespect to the others, but Shahama and Juju's Map were the classiest horses going in,” Vargas said. “I put my horse right on Juju's Map early. I was travelling good the whole time and I kept her just outside because Todd told me she doesn't like kickback from the dirt–she has a pretty face, she doesn't want to get that dirty. At the half-mile pole I picked it up with her. Paco Lopez tried to do the same, but didn't have as much horse as I did. By the three-eighths pole I was in front and it was over.”
Shahama had a productive winter in Dubai, where she won the UAE 1000 Guineas Trial and UAE 1000 Guineas in January and earned a spot in the GI Kentucky Oaks field with a win in the G3 UAE Oaks Feb. 18 for trainer Fawzi Nass. Transferred stateside to Pletcher's barn, she suffered her first loss when sixth in the Oaks and was coming off a runner-up effort in the June 25 GII Mother Goose S.
Shahama is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Kensei (Mr. Greeley) and to champion Lookin at Lucky (Smart Strike). The filly has a weanling half-brother by Catalina Cruiser who was purchased by Tami Bobo's First Finds for $200,000 at last year's Keeneland November sale. Her dam, Private Feeling, who was purchased by SF Bloodstock with the winner in utero for $40,000 at the 2018 Keeneland November sale, was bred back to Tom's d'Etat.
Under the winner's second dam, Regal Feeling, is champion Wait a While.
MONMOUTH OAKS-GIII, $245,000, Monmouth, 7-31, 3yo, f, 1 1/16m, 1:41.54, ft.
1–SHAHAMA, 121, f, 3, by Munnings
1st Dam: Private Feeling, by Belong to Me
2nd Dam: Regal Feeling, by Clever Trick
3rd Dam: Sharp Belle, by Native Charger
'TDN Rising Star'. ($425,000 2yo '21 OBSAPR). O-KHK Racing;
B-SF Bloodstock LLC (KY); T-Todd A. Pletcher; J-Jorge A. Vargas,
Jr. $150,000. Lifetime Record: GSW-UAE, 7-5-1-0, $435,984.
*1/2 to Lookin At Lucky (Smart Strike), Ch. 3-year-old Colt, Ch.
2-year-old Colt, MGISW, $3,307,278; 1/2 to Kensei
(Mr. Greeley), MGSW, $751,364. Werk Nick Rating: A+++.
*Triple Plus* Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Shotgun Hottie, 119, f, 3, Gun Runner–Re Entry, by Malibu
Moon. ($45,000 2yo '21 OBSAPR). O-Omar Aldabbagh & Jeff
Ganje; B-Vincent Colbert (KY); T-William E. Morey. $50,000.
3–Juju's Map, 117, f, 3, Liam's Map–Nagambie, by Flatter.
($190,000 Ylg '20 KEEJAN; $300,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP).
O-Albaugh Family Stables LLC; B-Fred W. Hertrich (KY); T-Brad
Margins: 2HF, 3/4, 6 1/4. Odds: 1.70, 4.00, 0.90.
Also Ran: Runaway Wife, Office Etiquette. Scratched: Silverleaf.
Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.