In a roughly run race, jockey Juan Hernandez orchestrated a picture-perfect trip for comebacking Madone, as she saved ground throughout and unleashed an impressive turn of foot to take Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Senorita Stakes by one length at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. Owned by Kaleem Shah, Inc. and trained by Simon Callaghan, Madone got a flat mile on turf in 1:35.17.
With favored Closing Remarks shuffled to the rear of an 11-horse field after clipping heels shortly after the start, longshots Stressed and Nimbostratus slugged it out on the front end, with Nimbostratus fairly running off with Heriberto Figueroa leaving the half mile pole.
All the while, Hernandez had Madone, idle since the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Juvenile Turf Nov. 6 at Keeneland, under a snug hold at the rail while a joint third around the first turn with Sensible Cat.
Heading to the far turn, Hernandez was patient and when Nimbostratus drifted out turning for home, he shot the gap between her and Stressed and Madone responded with a solid late kick that kept both the original second place finisher Golden and Closing Remarks at bay late.
“I was telling Simon that this filly came to run today because she broke really sharp out of the gate,” said Hernandez, who collected his second stakes win on the day. “She actually put herself in a really good position, behind the speed and then I was saving ground.
“Around the quarter pole, I was loaded. I had a (lot of) horse and I was just waiting for some space to open and come through. I found a spot and then I asked her, she kicked really well…She is a nice filly.”
Unbeaten in three starts at one mile on turf, two of them in ungraded stakes, Madone tasted defeat for the first time when eighth, beaten 5 ½ lengths at Keeneland on Nov. 6. Ridden for the first time today by Hernandez, she was off as the 5-2 second choice among 11 sophomore fillies and paid $7.80, $4.00 and $3.20.
“We thought she was ready although, you never quite know,” said Callaghan. “It’s just easier to get them ready to run on turf than it is on dirt. So we were confident her fitness level was where it needed to be and Juan gave a perfect ride. She broke well, put herself in a good position, and she had a good turn of foot when it was needed, that was fun.”
A Kentucky-bred filly by the Medaglia d’Oro stallion Vancouver, Madone is out of the Cherokee Run mare Indian Love Call. In notching her first graded stakes win, Madone is now four for five and with the winner’s share of $60,000, increased her earnings to $211,300.
Ridden by Jose Valdivia, Jr., Golden was full of run while in behind horses at the top of the lane and finished very well to be second, a half length in front of Closing Remarks, but Golden was disqualified for taking the path of the original sixth place finisher, Javanica, a sixteenth of a mile out and was placed sixth.
An unlucky Closing Remarks, who rallied six-wide under Victor Espinoza turning for home, was moved up to second and paid $3.00 and $2.80 while off as the 9-5 favorite.
Wide throughout, Sweetest Angel, originally fourth, was moved up to third and paid $5.80 to show while off at 11-1 with Edwin Maldonado.
Fractions on the race were 23.85, 47.05, 1:10.88 and 1:23.08.
With the Senorita carded as the 10th and final race, a Kentucky Derby Day on-track crowd of 9,659 wagered $1.8 million, contributing to a robust Derby Day handle of $15,490,702.
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 1 p.m.
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