Victory Ride, making her first start since winning last summer's Test Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga, cruised a one-length win in the inaugural $100,000 Madison Stakes at Keeneland Wednesday.
Celtic Melody was second, with 24-1 longshot Away was a half-length back in third. The final running time for the seven-furlong event was 1:23.30.
Going off at 8-5, Victory Ride returned $5 and $3.60 and $3.20. Celtic Melody paid $4.60 and $3.60, while Away returned $6.40.
To get the win, Victory Ride bobbled at the start before stalking the early pace set by Collect Call and Nasty Storm before making a move four-wide in the stretch to take the driving win.
"She broke a step slow but I didn't rush her because horses are winning from off the pace today," said winning jockey Edgar Prado. "When I asked her in the lane, she responded. She's a lot more mature than she was last summer. She ran super."
Victory Ride is conditioned by Rusty Arnold for G.Watts and Louise Humphrey, and was bred in Kentucky by Mr. and Mrs. John C. Mabee. The Humphrey's purchased Victory Ride as a yearling for $475,000 at the 1999 Keeneland July yearling auction.
Victory Ride is by the Mr. Prospector stallion Seeking the Gold and is out of the Flying Pasture mare Young Flyer.
The win increased Victory Ride's earnings to $316,031. She now has a lifetime record of 4-1-1 from five lifetime starts.
Collect Call finished fourth, followed by Nasty Storm, City Fair, and Trip.
Earlier on the card, Shah Jehan, a $4.4-million yearling purchase at last year's Keeneland September sale, won his first race on North American soil, going seven furlongs on the dirt.
Shah Jehan, owned by Michael Tabor and Susan Magnier and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, had finished ahead of only one horse in his last four races, including his last two in North America. He finished sixth, 13 lengths behind U S S Tinosa in the restricted Sham Stakes, where he made his North American debut, and again was sixth, 13 lengths behind Medaglia d'Oro in the March 17 San Felipe Stakes (gr. II), both at Santa Anita.
The son of Mr. Prospector out of the Baldski mare Voodoo Lily, who was bred in Kentucky by Joseph Allen, broke his maiden by a nose on first asking at Leopardstown in Ireland for trainer Aidan O'Brien. (Charts, Equibase