Madcap Escapade winning the Vinery Madison Stakes.

Madcap Escapade winning the Vinery Madison Stakes.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Madcap Escapade Retired

Bruce Lunsford's millionaire Madcap Escapade, the brilliantly fast winner of the $500,000-added Princess Rooney Handicap (gr. II) in Calder Race Course's "Summit of Speed" in her most recent start, has been retired from racing after suffering a leg injury.

Trainer Frank Brothers said the injury in the 4-year-old filly's left front leg was detected shortly after her victory in the six-furlong Princess Rooney July 10.

"She was just a shade 'off' out of the race at Calder, and we sent her over to Dr. (Larry) Bramlage," Brothers said. "She's got just a slight tear of the middle distal sesamoidian ligament."

Brothers said Bramlage diagnosed the injury following an examination of Madcap Escapade on a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) machine at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital near Lexington.

"That (MRI test) is the only way that they detected it," said Brothers. "It's an injury that can heal somewhat with a lot of time off, but it has a history of reoccurring. It's just not worth the chance with her."

"She was absolutely the best filly I've ever trained and probably one of the most brilliant filly sprinters that I've seen," Brothers added. "She was probably the best (sprinter) of her generation for sure, and maybe the best of a lot of generations. It was her raw talent. You just don't see many horses with speed like that and, while I'd like to think I did a good job with her, when they go that fast, something can happen."

Madcap Escapade, by Hennessy, won seven of nine starts and earned $1,052,852. Unraced as a 2-year-old, she made a dazzling career debut at Gulfstream Park, winning by 10 lengths, then took the Old Hat Stakes there by 11 3/4 lengths. In her next start, she won the Stonerside Forward Gal Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream.

Madcap Escapade's career highlight came in a victory over eventual 3-year-old filly champion Ashado in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland. She followed that effort with a third-place finish behind Ashado and Island Sand in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. The Oaks turned out to be the final start of her 3-year-old season as Madcap Escapade went to the sidelines after that race with a hip fracture.

Madcap Escapade returned to competition this year with a victory in the Shirley Jones Handicap (gr. II) at Gulfstream Park. She won the Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. III) at Keeneland before she suffered the only loss of her 4-year-old season--a fifth-place finish in the Humana Distaff (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. She quickly regained her winning form with her romp in the Princess Rooney.

Bred in Kentucky by Needham/Betz Thoroughbreds and James Blackburn, Madcap Escapade was produced from the Saratoga Six mare Sassy Pants and will begin her career as a broodmare at the Hancock family's Claiborne Farm near Paris, Ky. Breeding plans are undecided.