Plum Lake Racing LLC's MAZUCAMBERA (Milwaukee Brew) went from claim to fame by adjusting her running style in time to get a come-from-behind, three-quarter length victory in Saturday's $50,000 Dixie Belle S., the opening day feature at Oaklawn Park.
A crowd of 20,176 turned out for opening day, which was postponed from Friday due to the weather. Total handle grew from $3.15 million on the first Saturday of the meet in 2010 to $3.99 million this year.
"We don't usually worry too much about the numbers until after Presidents' Day because of weather, but we are very happy, especially considering where we were 48 hours ago," said David Longinotti, assistant general manager of racing. "(Track Supervisor) Steve Breckling and his crew did a tremendous job. They had a plan of attack starting last Sunday when the snow started, stuck to it and it worked out beautifully."
While Friday's $75,000 Fifth Season S. had to be rescheduled to Sunday, the Dixie Belle went off as scheduled, much to the delight of Mazucambera's connections, who spent $30,000 to get her out of a maiden-claiming victory at Churchill Downs on November 26. The three-year-old filly had been showing speed in her recent races, but her new team changed the strategy.
"Her last three races have been on the front end, but her connections asked me to try and take her back today," jockey Alex Birzer said. "Speed hasn't done that well today, so we decided to try this. She relaxed beautifully for me and when I asked her, she gave me all she had. (Trainer) Martin (Rouck) has done a wonderful job with her."
Mazucambera posted a final time of 1:13 3/5 for the six-furlong, fast-track test.
The Kentucky-bred sophomore miss improved her career record to 6-2-2-1 to go along with $52,538 in earnings.