A multiple graded-placed runner, Gainesway Stable's Madame Stripes finally earned her first graded victory Jan. 15 in the $100,000 Megahertz Stakes (G3T) as she ran down rivals in the Santa Anita Park stretch.
In Monday's one-mile turf test for older fillies and mares, the Neil Drysdale-trained 6-year-old mare hopped at the start and raced along in fifth through the early stages of the race under jockey Kent Desormeaux, while Thundering Sky took the field of seven through fractions of :23.11 and :46.98 for a half-mile.
Madame Stripes moved forward between rivals and stayed near the rail through the turn while following leaders Thundering Sky and favored Insta Erma. In the stretch, she shifted out into the three path and powered past the leaders for the win.
"When she jumped (leaving the gate) like that, Kent was able to get her covered up and she relaxed," Drysdale said. "But when I saw (the time for the first half-mile), I said 'Uh oh, uh oh!' The way it turned out, the favorite moved early and I was glad to see that. I think this mare is stronger this year. She's getting better."
Madame Stripes finished the distance over the firm turf in a final time of 1:34.24 and was 1 1/4 lengths clear of Insta Erma in second. Thundering Sky was another three-quarters of a length behind in third.
"Neil was very, very confident in her being ready for today's occasion," Desormeaux said. "He was mostly concerned with how fresh she was going to be. I rode her European style. I put a little steel in her mouth so she couldn't jump away from the gate. It worked out well because the rest of the race she was dragging me and she just loomed up to the leaders. Once she got trapped at the three-eighths pole, she just took that deep breath and presented. She just flew home. It was fun."
The winner returned $9, $4, and $2.60 across the board.
Bred in Argentina by Gustavo Javier Alvarez, out of the Silver Finder mare Courtisane (ARG), Madame Stripes was group 1-placed in her home country before arriving in the U.S. in late 2016.
In 2017 she ran second in the Wilshire Stakes (G3T) at Santa Anita and won the Osunitas Stakes at Del Mar in July before finishing third in Santa Anita's John C. Mabee Stakes (G2T) and closing out her year with a third-place finish in the Bayakoa Stakes (G2) on the dirt at Los Alamitos Race Course. From 17 career starts, the mare has a record of 4-7-2 and earnings of $313,218.