Unveiling a new dimension to her ability, Majestic Heat, whose 14 previous races had been run on grass, made the first start of her career on a dirt surface and romped to an impressive triumph in the featured $100,000 Betty Grable Stakes Sunday at Del Mar.
Surging to the lead bending into the stretch under jockey Flavien Prat, Majestic Heat cruised to the wire three and one-quarter lengths on top, with Barbara Beatrice getting up for second, two and one-half lengths ahead of Late ‘n Left. How About Zero, the lukewarm 3-1 favorite, was fourth in the field of eight older fillies and mares.
Majestic Heat, a five-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat owned by breeder Madeline Auerbach, McCauley and Bardy Farm and trained by Richard Mandella, had won five turf races and $353,329 prior to Sunday. Among her triumphs were victories in the Solana Beach Stakes during Del Mar's 2016 and '17 summer meetings. Time for the seven furlongs was 1:22.56.
Sent to the gate as third choice at 7-2, Majestic Heat returned $9.20, $4.40 and $3.20. The mare was sixth in the Goldikova Stakes a week ago, beaten five lengths by Kitten's Roar. First prize of $60,000 in the Betty Grable increased her earnings to $413,329.
Runner-up Barbara Beatrice, with Tiago Pereira, paid $6.60 and $4.20, while Late ‘n Left returned $4 to show.
Familiar trainer rivals Doug O'Neill and Peter Miller each sent out three winners on the nine-race program. O'Neill won the first, third and fifth races, while Miller took the fourth, sixth and ninth events.
There were six perfect tickets in the Pick Six and each paid $41,691.40. With $343,247 in “new” money and a carryover of $66,799 from Saturday, the total Pick Six pool was $410,046.
Racing resumes Thursday with an eight-race card beginning at 12:30 p.m.
FLAVIEN PRAT (Majestic Heat, winner) – “She's special. You saw how she won here this summer after a year off on the turf. And now here she is running this well on the dirt. She's just a good horse and a treat to ride.”
TIAGO PEREIRA (Barbara Beatrice, second) – “Good race for her; she tried very hard. I think she's probably better on the grass, but she gave it a good try today.”
STEWART ELLIOTT (Late ‘n Left, third) – She's a hard-trying filly and she gave it her best today. You like them when they try. And she tried.”
RICHARD MANDELLA (Majestic Heat, winner) – “I've always been interested to run her on the dirt, she's always worked well on it. The last race (Goldikova Stakes, eight days earlier) she kind of ran flat and looked like she mailed it in. She came out of it and looked so good, I thought I'd always wanted to try her on the dirt and this was a good distance for her. She (raced) on it pretty good, didn't she?”
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