DEL MAR, CA – Madam Dancealot was one of the longest shots on the board at post time, but at the finish, her name was on top at odds of 21-1 as she rallied from last place to win Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 San Clemente Handicap.
Owned by Slam Dunk Racing and trained by Richard Baltas, the 3-year-old filly under jockey Jamie Theriot earned her first career graded stakes win in the United States in a final time of 1:34.75 over the fast 1-mile Jimmy Durante Turf Course.
“No special instructions here; I just rode the race as it came up,” said Theriot. “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.”
Lull held the lead from the start to nearly the end before Madam Dancealot caughter her late.
Previously-unbeaten Sircat Sally, the 7-5 favorite who wasn’t quite herself as she lacked her usual kick down the stretch, held on for third but was pulled up on the backside after the race. It was later announced by Sircat Sally’s owner, Joe Turner, that she sustained a fracture in her leg during the race and will have surgery before retiring from racing.
“I pulled her up on the backside (after the race) and got off her,” said jockey Drayden Van Dyke. “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.”
Storm the Hill, Kenda, Blame It On Alphie, Enthrall, and Spy Ring completed the order of finish. Noted and Quoted was scratched.
With the massive upset, Madam Dancealot earned her second victory since coming stateside. She joined the California-based Baltas barn shortly before last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, finishing 13th of 14 runners, then finished fourth and tenth in two ungraded stakes races to start 2017. After a two-month breather, she returned to win an allowance and then took second in an ungraded stakes in preparation for the San Clemente.
Madam Dancealot returned $44.40, $14.80, and $4.80. Runner-up Lull brought back $4.20 and $2.60, while Sircat Sally paid $2.40 to show.