Magnificience a Dazzling Santa Paula Victor

Magnificience a Dazzling Santa Paula Victor
Photo: Benoit
Magnificience and jockey Alex Solis win the Santa Paula Stakes at Santa Anita.
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Magnificience, a long-striding 3-year-old filly trained by Bruce Headley, flashed just a peek of what  might be expected from her when she streaked to a five-length win in the $100,597 Santa Paula (gr. III) in stakes-record time at Santa Anita Sunday.

It was just the second start for the statuesque chestnut who clocked the 6 1/2-furlong distance in 1:14.61 under a brisk hand ride from Alex Solis. That eradicated the stakes mark of 1:15.02 set by Sardula in 1994, the same year she won the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I). After completing six furlongs in 1:08, Magnificience's final time was less than a second off the track record of 1:13.71 set by Son of a Pistol in 1998.

After a dazzling debut three weeks ago from Magnificience, Headley was asked if he had ever witnessed a maiden win like that. “Nobody has, not even me,” replied the 73-year-old horseman.

In that March 11 race, also at 6 1/2 furlongs, she broke well behind the field but erased a 10-length deficit after the opening quarter mile to win by 6 1/2 lengths while geared down, leaving the crowd buzzing.

Headley put a pair of sizzling three-furlong workouts into the daughter of Stormy Atlantic   (including a :33 4/5 on March 29) and they apparently paid off. Sunday, facing just three rivals as the 7-10 favorite, she was much more alert at the start while rated slightly off the pacesetter Coco Belle and Victor Espinoza on the outside. After swift fractions of :21 3/5 and :44, Magnificience ranged up on the outside of her rival to put a nose in front coming into the stretch, got control leaving the eighth pole and drew away quickly in another eye-catching performance.

“When Victor started riding his filly at the five-sixteenths pole, my filly took off,” said Solis. “Her biggest strength is the straightaway where she can stretch out. She’s got an incredible stride. She’s an incredible filly.”

Coco Belle faltered late and was passed for second by Swiss Diva, ridden by Agapito Delgadillo, who finished a length to the good of the 6-5 second choice. Adoradora trailed in the small field, which was reduced by the scratch of Jump On In. With no show wagering, the winner paid $3.40 and $2.40. The place price on Swiss Diva was $3.60.

Headley sold interests in Magnificience to Tom Lenner, John Sikura and Irwin Molasky following her maiden win. Bred in Kentucky by Mike Akers, Randy Zeller, Theresa Levy and Jeff Bowen, she is out of Fashion Delight, by Fappiano. She earned $61,590 Sunday.

The conditioner believes the filly, whom he purchased as a yearling for $120,000 at Keeneland in September 2005, will get better as her distances increase.

“Her forte is a distance," Headley said. “She’s sprinting because she’s just a runner. When she starts going around two turns, you’ll really she something. I would have to say because of her workouts, none of my standout fillies ever worked like she did . . . not even Kalookan Queen worked that fast.”

Headley said no plans had been formulated for Magnificience’s next start.

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