All eyes were on the Augustin Stable’s Informed Decision, the champion female sprinter of last year, as she made her 5-year-old debut against five rivals going seven furlongs on the Polytrack. The daughter of Monarchos broke well under regular rider Julien Leparoux and the duo were in a perfect stalking position as Dr. Zic led them around in splits of :22.97 and :46.01. Witty, the 2-1 second choice, and Dubai Majesty were also close up.
Dr. Zic, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, continued her lead coming off the turn with Dubai Majesty and Informed Decision her closest pursuers. The 4-year-old daughter of Milwaukee Brew was game in the stretch, holding her two rivals at bay while hitting the wire 2 1/2 lengths in front of Dubai Majesty and Jamie Theriot. Informed Decision, who came into the race a perfect seven-for-seven on synthetic surfaces, was another length back in third after lacking her normal kick in the lane. The final time was 1:21.32.
Desormeaux was also aboard Dr. Zic for her four-length victory last out when the improving filly won a handicap at Tampa Bay Downs March 13. She also won on the Keeneland Polytrack while breaking her maiden in the fall of 2008. Dr. Zic also won the Sandpiper Stakes at Tampa back in December, 2008.
“She was really full of herself. This is her backyard,” Desormeaux said. “She was calm and collected. She stayed that way all the way to the quarter-pole. When I encouraged her to go fast, she just lunged to the wire.”
Dr. Zic, who had $108,620 in earnings entering the Madison, banked a cool $180,000 for her first graded stakes victory. It was the first grade I win for trainer Joan Scott, who also co-owns the chestnut filly with Derby Lane’s Roger McDaniel, James Tom, and bloodstock agent Marette Farrell.
“She trained super in Tampa,” said Scott. “She loves Tampa (but the Madison) came up and it looked like we had a good shot on her home turf here.
“It was fantastic. I’m delighted. How could you not be?”
The winner, who was bred in Kentucky by Ronald McPeek, is out of the Holy Bull mare Royal Corona. She was purchased out of the OBS 2008 June 2-year-olds and horses of racing age sale by Farrell for $40,000, with Another Episode Farm, agent, as the consignor.
“Joan and myself have been friends for a long, long time and I had just started out on my own as a bloodstock agent and she had been training horses for a couple of years,” Farrell said. “I said, ‘you and I need to put something together to build something for ourselves.’ We decided to go the sale and see what we could find.
“I loved the farm that we bought her from (Another Episode Training Center). They do a really great job. There is no hidden agendas; everything is on the up-and-up; very solid horsemanship.
"We knew she was doing really, really well and was on top of her game. We didn’t expect to topple the champion, but we knew we were bringing our ‘A’ game and we were hoping to get a placing in a grade I."
Farrell also said they had considered running April 17 in the $250,000 Sugar Maple Stakes at Charles Town but decided to take a shot in a shorter field with the presence of Informed Decision.
Informed Decision, who entered the contest on a three-race win streak including the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita in November, won the Madison by a head last season over Ventura. Trainer Jonathan Sheppard was not displeased with the effort.
"She ran well for her first time back," he said. "She just didn't finish up as strong as she needed to. She may be one work away."
Dr. Zic paid $33.40, $11.20,and $4.40. The exacta (4-2) returned $228.60 and the trifecta (4-2-6) was $334.60.
Witty finished fourth, followed by Starlarks, and Direct Line.