Madame Pietra (10) wins the $250,000 Padua Stables-Filly and Mare Sprint.

Madame Pietra (10) wins the $250,000 Padua Stables-Filly and Mare Sprint.

AP/Luis M. Alvarez

Madame Pietra Kicks Off Sunshine Series

Carl H. Grether's favored Madame Pietra wore down Shameful and Chispiski in the stretch to win by a head in the $250,000 Filly & Mare Sprint at Gulfstream Park Saturday.

Florida breds took the top three spots in the opening race of the Sunshine Millions eight-race series, although Madame Pietra is based in Southern California, where she is trained by Howard Zucker. Jockey Patrick Valenzuela won for the third consecutive time on the 6-year-old mare.

The daughter of Roy settled off a solid pace set by Shameful and Maria's Mirage of :21.40 for the opening quarter-mile and :44.53 for the half. At the head of the stretch, Chispiski came off the rail to engage Shameful, with Madame Pietra making up ground. The three battled through the deep stretch with Madame Pietra prevailing on the outside of Shameful, who nosed Chispiski for the runner-up spot.

"Today, I timed it exactly right," said Valenzuela. 'I had to do an Eddie Delahoussaye on them, and it worked out."

Madame Pietra paid $4.40, $3 and $2.80. Shameful returned $7.40 and $5.20. Chispiski's show price was $6. The $2 exacta was $33.

(Chart, Equibase)