Since relocating to the United States from England in 2016, Madam Dancealot's worst races have been around two turns.
Her U.S. debut and first start for trainer Richard Baltas was a 13th-place run in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) and her second try at a mile on the grass was a 10th-place finish in the China Doll Stakes March 11. Both starts were at Santa Anita Park.
But the ocean breeze at Del Mar may have brought out the best in Slam Dunk Racing's Sir Prancealot filly, who displayed an eye-catching turn of foot with a last-to-first winning move in the $200,000 San Clemente Handicap (G2T) July 23.
Last of seven as the field turned for home, jockey Jamie Theriot guided Madam Dancealot to the outside, and although she remained on her left lead through the stretch, she surged by the field for a 1 3/4-length victory.
East Coast invader Lull broke best and set the pace—as she did during her last Southern California visit in the Juvenile Fillies Turf (she finished fourth)—and put up fractions of :23.17, :46.31, and 1:10.55 through six furlongs.
With a furlong to run, Lull and jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. had put away all challengers except for one. Madam Dancealot took over late and hit the wire in 1:34.75.
Off at 21-1, the winner returned $44.40, $14.80, and $4.80 across the board.
It was a rewarding victory for Baltas, who admitted the filly has been hard to handle since she arrived in Southern California. Her ability to settle behind horses and accelerate late was a display of not only her talent, but also her maturity.
"The horse can run," Baltas said of Madam Dancealot, who won a group 3 sprint in her final start in England. "She changed her style, that's all. In Europe she was always up on the lead. She did a lot of crazy things before the Breeders' Cup behind the gate because she wasn't used to the pony. So we put her out there with the pony every day to get her used to it.
"She's been closing in sprints, but I never thought she'd be last like that. I don't see why she can't run like that every time if she settles like that."
When asked if the Aug. 19 Del Mar Oaks (G1T) would be next for Madam Dancealot, Baltas said, "I don't see why not."
Previously undefeated Sircat Sally, who came into the race off five straight grass stakes wins, made a mild rally from fourth to finish third, but was vanned off after the race. Owner Joe Turner said the three-time graded stakes winner sustained a fracture in one of her legs.
Turner said the California-bred Surf Cat filly is retired from racing and after surgery to repair the fracture, will start a second career as a broodmare. Turner did not specify where the fracture was in her limb.
"She's got a crack," the owner said. "She's not going to run any more. She's already done a lot for me, so she's going to be a broodmare. The doctor told us we were lucky, because (it wasn't a more severe break).
Bred in Ireland by Tally-Ho Stud, Madam Dancealot now has a 4-3-0 record from 12 starts and earnings of $219,775.