Mourinho, a 3-year-old Super Saver colt, left little doubt who was the best 3-year-old in Monday's $150,000 Smarty Jones S. at Oaklawn Park, cruising to a 3 1/4-length front-running score under jockey Drayden Van Dyke.
Named a TDN Rising Star following his debut win last September, Mourinho is Super Saver's second black type winner in the first two weeks of 2018, giving the WinStar stallion a total of 30 black type horses lifetime.
In a field reduced to five following a pair of scratches, Mourinho sped out of the gate, with Tap Daddy in hot pursuit. The first half-mile went in :48.09, when Tap Daddy began to back out. That left Mourinho all alone coming into the stretch. Combatant ran up to be second, but was no threat to the winner (VIDEO
Mourinho, trained by Bob Baffert, completed the one-mile test in 1:37.25, the second-fastest time in the history of the stakes race that was first run a decade ago.
“He's a horse we get to relax in the morning, so the blinkers I think helped him stay focused and it benefitted him,” said Van Dyke after the race. “Bob said, 'We're the fastest horse in the race, so get the lead and go from there,' and luckily it worked out.”
Mourinho earned 10 Road to the Kentucky Derby points, which are used to determine the Run for the Roses' field if more than 20 horses are entered.
Mourinho, who is owned by Phoenix Thoroughbred III, was second in both the Bob Hope S. (G3) and Speakeasy S. at 2 and is now 2-2-0 in four starts, with earnings of $154,360.
Bred in Kentucky by WinStar Farm, Mourinho is out of stakes-placed More Than Ready daughter Sandi's Ready, who also has produced stakes winner Sandy's Surprise. Mourinho was a $625,000 purchase at the 2017 OBS March sale of 2-year-olds in training.