Madame Pietra Extends Habibti's Streak

Favorite Madame Pietra came from off the pace under Patrick Valenzuela to post a 2 1/2-length victory over Habibti in Sunday's $71,950 Corona Handicap at Hollywood Park.

Madame Pietra, owned by Carl H. Grether and trained by Howard Zucker, covered six furlongs in 1:09 under high weight of 120 pounds. She paid $4.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Habibti, ridden by Victor Espinoza, paid $3.40 and $2.40. Pacesetter Wild Tickle hung on for third under Laffit Pincay Jr., returning $2.60.

The victory was the second on the card for Valenzuela and the second straight for Madame Pietra. The 5-year-old mare has won five of 14 lifetime starts. The winner's share of $43,950 boosted her earnings to $235,635.

"She ran a great race," Valenzuela said. "Howie (Zucker) has got her relaxed now where she is able to come from off the pace and make a big run around the turn into the stretch. And that's exactly what she did today."

Habibti failed to win for the sixth time since capturing the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) a year ago.

"She's starting to come around," Espinoza said. "She ran good, but this was a little short for her. She started running at the end and finished very, very strong."

(Chart, Equibase)