Slam Dunk Racing's Madam Dancealot came flying from the rear of the field to upset Sunday's G2 San Clemente at 21-1, defeating pacesetter Lull by about two lengths at the wire. A 3-year-old daughter of Sir Prancealot ridden by Jamie Theriot, the Richard Baltas trainee covered a mile over Del Mar's firm turf in 1:34.75, also ending Sircat Sally's seven-race win streak as that filly checked in third.
Lull was very sharp out of the starting gate, and jockey Brian Hernandez tried to restrain her briefly as Kenda came rushing up alongside. Lull was having none of it, so Hernandez gave her her head and allowed her to take a two-length lead approaching the backstretch. With her ears pricked Lull galloped through early fractions of :23.17 and :46.31, tracked by Kenda and three lengths father back Sircat Sally. Meanwhile, Madam Dancealot was unhurried trailing the field all the way down the backstretch.
Entering the far turn, Theriot got busy aboard Madam Dancealot and she responded with a huge turn of foot, circling the field to be mid-pack at the head of the lane. Lull and Hernandez tried to sprint away from the field and got a one-length jump, but Madam Dancealot would not be denied. She ate up the ground to pass the wire about two lengths in front of Lull, and a hard-trying Sircat Sally checked in third.
The previously unbeaten Sircat Sally was vanned off after the race. She was later diagnosed with a fractured sesamoid, per drf.com. Owner Joe Turner later told the Blood-Horse that he was retiring the filly.
“She's not going to run any more,” Turner told the Blood-Horse. “She's already done a lot for me, so she's going to be a broodmare. The doctor told us we were lucky, because (it wasn't a more severe break).”
Bred in Ireland by Tally-Ho Stud, Madam Dancealot most recently commanded $292,084 at the 2016 Goffs Champions sale. She'd won a Group 3 overseas, but was troubled to finish 13th in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies. Madam Dancealot got her first stateside victory in an allowance race two starts back, and overall has a record of four wins and three seconds from 12 starts for earnings of nearly $220,000.
JAMIE THERIOT (Madam Dancealot, winner) – “No special instructions here; I just rode the race as it came up. The key with her was to get her to relax. She's coming off races down the hillside (at Santa Anita) and she's got speed, but she needed to relax. I worked her last week and she relaxed fine for me, so I was feeling good coming into this race. When we turned for home, I thought she was really going to finish strong for me. And she surely did.”
BRIAN HERNANDEZ, JR. (Lull, second) – “The plan actually was to take her back and cover her up. But she broke so well and nobody else was going, so I just let her run along up there. She was going easy and turning for home I thought I was a winner. But that other filly (Madam Dancealot) was really motoring and she just went on by.”
DRAYDEN VAN DYKE (Sircat Sally, third) – “I pulled her up on the backside (after the race) and got off her. It felt to me like she was maybe a little off in her right front. It didn't seem to be anything serious, but I didn't want to take any chances. She usually gives me a big kick at the end, but it wasn't there today. Maybe something was going on during the race, though she didn't show it. I think she's going to be OK.”
(Sircat Sally was returned to her barn for further evaluation.)
RICHARD BALTAS (Madam Dancelot, winner) – “The way she was finishing the last two races on the grass down the hill at Santa Anita, I thought she could get a mile. She's settled now, she's relaxed and when she was last down the backside, I was like 'Wow.' I know she can run and when a good horse gets settled like that they're going to run at the end, and she did.”
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