A surface switch seems to be paying off for Majestic Heat, who is now two-for-two on dirt as she earned her first graded victory in the 1 1/16-mile $201,035 Bayakoa Stakes (G2) Dec. 3 at Los Alamitos Race Course.
The 5-year-old daughter of Unusual Heat stretched out from her first dirt try, a 3 1/4-length score in the seven-furlong Betty Grable Stakes Nov. 12 at Del Mar for owners Madeline Auerbach, Bardy Farm, and Ron McCauley.
"I've always had it in my mind to try her on dirt," trainer Richard Mandella said. "I mentioned it to (co-owner Madeline Auerbach) but just never quite did it.
"I thought she didn't run at all the last time I ran her on grass (sixth in the grade 2 Goldikova Stakes Nov. 4) and she came back the next day and looked like a horse who hadn't run. I had nominated her to the (Betty Grable), so I decided to put her in there and see what happens. We do that a lot and sometimes it doesn't work, so we can't brag too much. I thought she ran very well today. It gives us a lot of options for next year.''
In Sunday's event, 2016 2-year-old filly champion Champagne Room broke sharply and took the early lead with Shenandoah Queen racing in second on the outside and Constellation between rivals in third. Champagne Room took the eight-horse field through fractions of :22.86 and :46.73 for a half-mile.
Majestic Heat and jockey Mike Smith raced in sixth early and began inching forward up the backstretch, moving up to fourth with six furlongs going in 1:10.32. Going four-wide around the far turn, Majestic Heat took over from Champagne Room and opened up a clear lead, hitting the wire 2 1/2 lengths ahead in a final time of 1:42.15.
Champagne Room held on for second, with Madame Stripes 3 1/4 lengths back in third. Bernina Star, 5-2 favorite Pacific Wind, Street Surrender, Shenandoah Queen, and Constellation completed the order of finish.
"The plan was to let her run out of there and see what everybody else did," Smith said. "When several of them went that was good for us. She settled nicely and when I tipped her out she did everything on her own in the stretch.''
Sent off as the third betting choice, the winner returned $8, $4.20, and $3.40 across the board.
Bred by Madeline Auerbach and Barry Abrams in California, Majestic Heat is out of the winning Ole' mare Chi Chi Nette. Before the Betty Grable, she finished off the board in both the Goldikova Stakes (G2T) and the Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1T). She was a repeat winner of the Solana Beach Stakes in August at Del Mar. With seven wins from 16 starts, she boosted her earnings to $530,329.