Wesley Ward-trained and owned Judy the Beauty was a popular 3-5 winner of the $300,000 Madison Stakes (gr. I) April 12 at Keeneland (VIDEO).
The 5-year-old Ghostzapper mare is a perfect 4-for-4 at Keeneland and has now won five of six starts on synthetic surfaces.
Judy the Beauty got the seven furlongs of the Madison in 1:22.86 after sitting right off the early pace set by Eden Prairie and Wildcat Lily. With John Velazquez aboard, Judy the Beauty pulled clear in the stretch to win by 2 1/2 lengths over a rallying Better Lucky. It was 2 1/4 lengths back to the closing Apropos in third with Heir Kitty finishing a half-length farther back in fourth.
Eden Prairie, breaking from the outside post in the field of nine older fillies and mares, broke first and battled with Apropos and the speedy Wildcat Lily early. The opening quarter went in :23.04. Eden Prairie and Wildcat Lily battled to the turn through a half in :46.43 as Judy the Beauty began to make headway to the lead. Eden Prairie still held the advantage in the stretch but was overpowered by Judy the Beauty who quickly drew clear while hitting the furlong marker in 1:10.48.
"I'm ecstatic," said Ward in the winner's circle. " She's been so unlucky so many different times when she's been beaten right on the money. To finally vindicate with a grade 1 (victory) is just unbelievable."
"I think so," when asked if Judy the Beauty is getting better with age. "She's getting a lot more composed as she gets older. She used to be a little bit fractious saddling and a little nervous in the post parade. Now she just walks into the gate with a lot of class. I think it's all come to her and hopefully it continues on the rest of the summer."
The winner paid $3.20, $2.60, and $2.10. Better Lucky returned $4.40 and $3.20. Apropos paid $4.40 to show. The 4-6 exacta paid $16.60.
"We had the perfect trip," Velazquez said. "She broke really well. That's where I wanted to be: a little close to the lead. She got (the win) pretty easy."
Heir Kitty was followed by Eden Prairie, Cozze Up Lady, Byrama, and Wildcat Lily.
The winner was bred in Ontario by Adena Springs and is out of the stakes-winning Holy Bull mare Holy Blitz. Holy Blitz won the Wishing Well Stakes at Turfway Park and is out of stakes winner Pagofire. Judy the Beauty has now has a 7-7-1 slate from 15 starts and she became a millionaire in the process, having now earned $1,005,757.
Ward purchased Judy the Beauty for $20,000 out of the opening session of the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale from the Adena Springs, agent, consignment.
Judy the Beauty won the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (gr. II) at Keeneland last fall before running second to champion Groupie Doll in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita Park. Judy the Beauty kicked off 2014 with a 4 3/4-length score in Santa Anita's Las Flores Stakes (gr. III) March 9, getting six furlongs in 1:08.22.