LEXINGTON, KY (April 9, 2016) – Harold Queen’s homebred Sheer Drama outdueled favored Stopchargingmaria by a neck to win the 15th running of the $300,000 Madison (G1) for fillies and mares Saturday afternoon, the first of three Grade 1 races on the 11-race Keeneland program.
Prior to the Madison, Wes Welker and Sol Kumin’s Undrafted got up in the final strides to win the 20th running of the $200,000 Shakertown (G2) for turf sprinters and Ivan Dalos’ Ami’s Flatter won the 30th running of the $250,000 Commonwealth (G3) for sprinters on the main track.
Trained by David Fawkes and ridden by Joe Bravo, Sheer Drama covered the seven furlongs on a fast main track in 1:22.07.
Sunday Rules and Enchanting Lady set a contested pace with Fioretti Lady and Super Majesty in close pursuit through fractions of :22.42 and :44.86. Stopchargingmaria was in the clear on the outside just in back of the leaders while Sheer Drama was getting a ground-saving trip to the inside of Stopchargingmaria.
The top four positions did not change until the field turned for home as Stopchargingmaria moved to the leaders five wide and was soon joined by Sheer Drama, who slipped between Enchanting Lady and Stopchargingmaria.
The two mares drew clear of the field with Stopchargingmaria taking the lead at midstretch but unable to hold off a final surge from Sheer Drama. It was the first race of 2016 for both mares since last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) that was won by Stopchargingmaria with Sheer Drama fourth.
Sheer Drama is a 6-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Burning Roma out of the Notebook mare Riveting Drama. It was the third Grade 1 victory for Sheer Drama, who improved her record to 21-7-8-1 with earnings of $1,618,840. Saturday’s victory was worth $180,000.
Sheer Drama returned $18.80, $8 and $4.60. Stopchargingmaria, ridden by Javier Castellano, returned $4.20 and $2.80 with Wavell Avenue, ridden by Julien Leparoux, finishing another two lengths back in third and returning $4 to show.
Birdatthewire finished another length back in fourth and was followed in order by Enchanting Lady, Dancing House, Spelling Again, Clothes Fall Off, Sunday Rules, Super Majesty and Fioretti.
Quotes for the $300,000 Madison (G1)
David Fawkes (winning trainer of Sheer Drama)
“I talked to (Keeneland Racing Secretary) Ben (Huffman) about this race early in the year, and thought it might be a good starting spot. Never expected it to come up this tough. But she ran her race – she brought her A game. She worked so good last week, I thought she could do anything (in this race).”
Click here for Keeneland racing analyst Tom Leach’s post-race interview with trainer David Fawkes.
Joe Bravo (winning rider, who scored his second consecutive victory following the Shakertown-G2)
“This filly did a lot of great things last year, won some Grade 1s, and this was her first race back. (Trainer) Dave (Fawkes) and I spent all week looking at it and saying, ‘Wow. These are some of the best fillies in the country.’ What she did today – you gotta just love her. She has so much heart. (Trainer Todd) Pletcher’s horse (Stopchargingmaria) came to us at the top of the lane, and she passed us. (When a horse trained by) Todd goes by you, you think, ‘Oh right.’ But Sheer Drama said, ‘None of that.’ She gutted it out and outran her down the lane.”
Javier Castellano (rider of runner-up Stopchargingmaria)
“The outside post didn’t help her much, and I had to go wide a little bit. That might have cost me the race but it’s something you just gotta deal with. You have to go through it and hope for much the best. She ran such a good race. I’m not disappointed at all. I’m so happy and satisfied with what she did today. Just second-best today.”
Drayden Van Dyke (rider of fourth-place finisher Birdatthewire)
“It was a perfect trip. She ran her race, and I think it was just speed-favoring today. She handled the track perfect.”