CYPRESS, CA – Madeline Auerbach’s homebred Majestic Heat finally broke through for her first career graded stakes win, taking Sunday’s Grade 2, $200,000 Bayakoa Handicap at Los Alamitos.
Sent off from post 3 under Mike Smith, Majestic Heat settled down low in mid-pack entering the first turn as Champagne Room set initial splits of :22.86, :46.73, and 1:10.32. Down the back stretch, Smith positioned Majestic Heat towards the outside behind the lead group, allowing her to begin making her move through the far turn. Hitting the top of the stretch stride-for-stride with Champagne Room, Majestic Heat kicked clear under a full head of steam and hit the line first by 2 1/2 lengths in a final time of 1:42.15 for the 1 1/16-mile main track event.
“The plan was to let her run out of there and see what everybody else did,” Smith 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.’’
Champagne Room held well for second, 3 1/4 lengths ahead of Madame Stripes, while Bernina Star was a neck past Pacific Wind for fourth. Street Surrender, Shenandoah Queen, and Constellation completed the order of finish.
Majestic Heat is co-owned by Auerbach, Ron McCauley, and Bardy Farm. After competing her first 14 career races over grass, trainer Richard Mandella tried her over dirt last out in the $100,000 Betty Grable Stakes at Del Mar. The move paid off, as the 5-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat won convincingly by 3 1/4 lengths. Her career record now stands at 16-7-1-0 with earnings of $530,329.
“I’ve always had it in my mind to try her on dirt,” Mandella said. “I mentioned it to (Auerbach) but just never quite did it. I thought she didn’t run at all the last time I ran her on grass, and she came back the next day and looked like a horse who hadn’t run. I had nominated her (to the Betty 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.’’
Majestic Heat returned $8 to win, $4.20 to place, and $3.40 to show. Champagne Room brought back $3.80 to place and $3.20 to show, while Madame Stripes paid $5 to show.