Three weeks after an easy win in her dirt debut, Majestic Heat became a graded stakes winner on the surface with another decisive victory in the $201,035 Bayakoa Sunday at Los Alamitos.
After dispatching of fellow California breds by 3 ¼ lengths going seven furlongs in the Betty Grable Nov. 12 at Del Mar, the 5-year-old Unusual Heat mare prevailed by 2 ½ lengths when stretched to 1 1/16 miles in the Grade II, which was run Sunday at Los Alamitos for the first time since 2014.
Reserved off the quick early pace set by eventual runner-up Champagne Room, Majestic Heat began to rally wide nearing the stretch under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, easily collared the leader and went on to her seventh victory in 16 starts.
The 3-1 third choice in the field of eight, Majestic Heat, who is owned by Bardy Farm, Ron McCauley and co-breeder Madeline Auerbach and trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, completed the distance in 1:42.15 and paid $8, $4.20 and $3.40. She's earned $530,329.
Champagne Room, the 2016 2-year-old filly champion, returned $3.80 and $3.20 as the 5-2 second choice. She finished 3 ¼ lengths in front of 9-1 shot Madame Stripes, who paid $5 to show.
Completing the order of finish were Bernina Star, Pacific Wind, the 5-2 favorite, Street Surrender, Shenandoah Queen and Constellation.
An off-the-board effort in the Grade II Goldikova on turf – a surface on which she has won five of 14 – Nov. 4 at Del Mar is what inspired Mandella to try Majestic Heat on the dirt eight days later in the Grable.
“I've always had it in my mind to try her on dirt,'' said Mandella. “I mentioned it to (Auerbach), but just never quite did it. I thought she didn't run at all (in the Goldikova) and she came back the next day and looked like a horse who hadn't run.
“I had nominated her to the (Grable), so I decided to put her in there and see what happens. We do that a lot and sometimes it doesn't work, so we can't brag too much.
“I thought she ran very well today. It gives us a lot of options for next year.''
Smith, who won the 2016 Bayakoa at Del Mar with Vale Dori, was impressed after his first collaboration with Majestic Heat.
“The plan was to let her run out of there and see what everybody else did,'' he said. “When several of them went that was good for us. She settled nicely and when I tipped her out she did everything on her own in the stretch.''
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