A New Twist topped a depleted field in Wednesday's Keeneland feature, the $132,769 Madison Stakes. Favorite You, September Secret, and Slews Final Answer all scratched after rain left the track muddy.
A New Twist caught Flaxen Flyer at the top of the stretch and gradually pulled away to a 1 ½-length victory.
The temperamental 4-year-old daughter of Storm Cat ran seven furlongs on the sloppy track in 1:24.32 and posted her fifth win in 11 career starts. She earned $84,863 for owners Lucille Conover and George Bolton.
"We think this filly has all the talent in the world," said winning trainer John Kimmel. "She's a very fractious filly. She's very tough to work with. We really treat her with kid gloves. The effort is worth it when she comes out and performs like this in the afternoon."
Before the race Spring Meadow's trainer Robert Hess Jr. said if his charge handled the surface, the 3-2 favorite would win. Well, she apparently didn't handle the surface as she finished fourth in the field of four.
Spring Meadow did break well, as did 3-1 Flaxen Flyer. Flaxen Flyer and jockey Daniel Coa held a half-length lead over A New Twist as the field headed into the turn, and covered the first quarter in :21 4/5. The order remained the same after the half-mile in :44 1/5 -- Flaxen Flyer by a half-length over A New Twist, followed by Forest Secrets and Spring Meadow about three lengths back. As Flaxen Flyer and A New Twist exited the turn widely, A New Twist gained a short advantage, then accelerated through the stretch.
Flaxen Flyer held on for second. She finished 9 ½ lengths in front of Forest Secrets. It was 13 ¼ lengths back to Spring Meadow.
The winner was ridden by Pat Day.
"She ran very gamely until she cleared the filly on the inside of her and then she kind of powered down," said Day. "Encouragement from me was not well received and she kind of pinned her ears and sulked a bit."
A New Twist paid $8.80, $4 and $2.40 as the fourth choice in the field. Flaxen Flyer returned $4 and $2.80 and Forest Secrets with Edgar Prado aboard paid $2.80. The $2 exacta paid $35.80.
A New Twist is the first foal from the grade I-winning mare Twist Afleet. Conover bred A New Twist, who won the 2002 Old Hat Stakes. This is her second start and second win this year.