Ventura proved her affinity for Polytrack and American stakes competition when she mowed down a field of experienced contenders at Keeneland in the $200,000 Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. II) (VIDEO
) April 9.
The Juddmonte Farms homebred, a daughter of the late Chester House out of the Be My Guest mare Estala, came into the Madison off a handy allowance win in her first U.S. start for trainer Bobby Frankel over the downhill turf course at Santa Anita March 6. With three wins and three runner-up efforts from eight starts in England to her credit, she was sent off as the 7-2 choice in an 11-horse field that included graded stakes winners such as Wild Gams, Dawn After Dawn, Mini Sermon, and Street Sounds.
“She’s got a nice turn of foot,” said winning rider Garrett Gomez. “I was very impressed with her the other day when I had the opportunity to ride her down the hill at Santa Anita. She’s come back. She’s a beautiful filly and she’s talented.”
It was Street Sounds, in fact, who looked like the potential winner when the field turned for home after following the frontrunning V.I.P. Princess and Change Up through a quarter in :23.06 and a half in :45.97. While Ventura was 10th after going a half-mile, Street Sounds moved up to third through three-quarters in 1:09.86.
Coming off the turn, however, Gomez swung Ventura seven wide for the stretch run and the 4-year-old filly closed the gap between her rivals with an explosive move down the center of the track. She won by a length over Street Sounds, while it was two lengths back to Dawn After Dawn. Wild Gams, Change Up, Carriage Trail, Windyindy, Mini Sermon, Zada Belle, Looky Yonder, and V.I.P. Princess completed the order of finish.
“I was actually stuck in behind some horses and I couldn’t get a free run anywhere,” Gomez said. “Finally at the quarter pole, I shoved her through a really tight hole. She responded really well, and she made her way through there. When we turned for home, she gave us a good turn of foot and did what she was supposed to do.”
Ventura returned $10, $7.80, and $5.40, while Street Sounds and Jose Lezcano paid $19.60 and $10.40, and Dawn After Dawn brought $6.
Ventura now has a career record of five wins and three seconds from 10 starts. Her earnings total $224,838.