Madcap Escapade, winning the Ashland Stakes.

Madcap Escapade, winning the Ashland Stakes.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Madcap Escapade Sizzles in Oaks Workout; Island Sand Works

Bruce Lunsford's undefeated Madcap Escapade zipped five furlongs in :58 1/5 over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs Friday morning in preparation for the April 30 Kentucky Oaks (gr. I).

With exercise rider Pedro Velez aboard, the daughter of Hennessy galloped out six furlongs in a quick 1:11 1/5. The five-eighths of a mile time was the best among 16 horses working the distance and was nearly two seconds faster than the second-fastest worker on the card.

"She was in-hand," said Brothers. "It's hard to believe one would work like that in-hand, but you really had to see the work. But that's pretty much the way she usually works and it wouldn't bother me if it came up muddy for the Oaks, I'll tell you that. I don't want to have a bad day, but she surely liked the 'off' track. She's just a hell of an athlete. There's not many of them that come along like that. That doesn't make her win the Kentucky Oaks by no means, but she's a pretty special filly.""

Madcap Escapade is unbeaten in four starts, which includes a half-length victory in Keeneland's Ashland Stakes (gr. I) in her most recent outing. The filly has won those races by a combined margin of 27 lengths.

Island Sand, another Oaks contender worked five furlongs in 1:01 after the renovation break over a sloppy track.

With jockey Justin Shepherd aboard, her fractions were :12.20, :24, :36.20, :48.60 and out the six furlongs in 1:15.20.

"I wanted to go in a minute or 1:01, so this was fine," trainer Larry Jones said. "All we need to do is maintain her now. She wore blinkers in her last work before the Fantasy, but before that she had not. She races in them, and I figured with as much stuff that is going on around here, I didn't want to take a chance on her getting out from under him. That was about par for the course for her. It looks like everything is according to schedule. I normally walk two days after a work like this. Especially with seven days like this, you don't have to be in a big hurry about getting back to the track. This is it. This is all that she will do."

Terry Thompson will ride in the Oaks.