India Mantuana gamely prevails in Red Carpet Handicap

India Mantuana gamely prevails in Red Carpet Handicap
Photo: Benoit Photo

India Mantuana, a 4-year-old filly claimed for $40,000 last August by trainer Ray Bell, hung on gamely in the final strides under a masterful ride by jockey Tyler Baze to complete a wire-to-wire victory Thursday in the featured Grade 3, $100,000 Red Carpet Handicap.
Overlooked in the wagering at 18-1, Indian Mantuana was sent to the lead shortly after the start of the mile and three-eighths grass marathon, was beautifully rated by Baze and held on to win by a diminishing half-length over the onrushing Siberian Iris. Another half-length back in a deadheat for third were 6-5 favored Vexatious and Escape Clause.

India Mantuana, a daughter of Wilburn owned by Richard A. Bell, accomplished the distance in 2:14.50 and returned $39.60, $15 and $5.20 after her sixth success in 24 starts. First money of $60,000 increased her bankroll to $222,047.

“You know, when I was young and played baseball, I was really fast. Stole a lot of bases. Think I might have stolen a horse race here," Baze said. "That (going far to the front) wasn’t really the plan. It just happened. I just wanted to ride her like I did here last summer; not fight her; let her do her thing. She was just going easy out there. Sometimes it isn’t how fast they’re running, it’s how they’re doing it. She was doing it the right way today.”

Runner-up Siberian Iris, an 11-1 chance ridden by Flavien Prat, returned $12.80 and $4, while dead-heaters Vexatious and Escape Clause paid $2.10 and $2.20 to show, respectively.

“I had the binoculars on her and she just kept getting farther and farther in front," said the trainer Bell. "I could see she had her ears pricked and was very relaxed. I was amazed that somebody didn’t go with her. That was the only chink in her armor if somebody would have gone with her and softened her up. She doesn’t have that real acceleration but she’s a real staying type filly. She keeps up that one pace and just keeps on going and doesn’t give up.”

With no perfect tickets in the Thanksgiving Day Pick Six, Friday’s program will feature a carryover of $52,114 and a Single Ticket Jackpot pool of $94,515. Post time for the first race Friday is 12:30 p.m., featuring the Grade II $200,000 Hollywood Turf Cup.

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