July 13, 2024

Macadamia proves too tough in Gamely

Macadamia strikes with fellow Brazilian Tiago Pereira in the Gamely (Photo by Benoit Photos)

Brazilian champion Macadamia took a while to transfer that level of form to Southern California, but Monday’s $401,000 Gamely (G1) proved that she’s on the top of her game now. Responding to her countryman, hot-riding Tiago Pereira, the Phil D’Amato mare drove past 4-5 favorite Queen Goddess to spring the mild 6.20-1 upset at Santa Anita.

Queen Goddess appeared to work out a good trip stalking the pace. Up front, Macadamia’s stablemate School Dance was pressed by Bellamore through fractions of :24.06 and :48.08. The tempo lifted, however, to the six-furlong split in 1:11.87. That’s just when Queen Goddess began to rev up, ranging alongside the leaders on the far turn and striking the front entering the stretch.

Macadamia, who had been settled further back, commenced her bid in the favorite’s wake. Once organized by midstretch, the daughter of Hat Trick gained inexorably and overhauled Queen Goddess by one length. Macadamia completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.01 and returned $14.40.

Quattroelle rallied from last to nip Queen Goddess for runner-up honors. Viareggio checked in a one-paced fourth, another 1 3/4 lengths back. Bellamore weakened to fifth, trailed by Closing Remarks and School Dance.

The Gamely exacta replicated the April 30 Wilshire (G3), where Macadamia and Quattroelle also ran one-two.

“Last time out,” Pereira said of the Wilshire, “my horse was really aggressive and a little green. I’ve been working her and getting her to relax more and today she was really relaxed and on her game. I saw everyone in front of us and I was going to follow the 3 (Queen Goddess) until the three-eighths pole. She’s a really good filly. When it was time to go, she responded very well. I’m thankful for these great opportunities and I continue to work very hard.”

D’Amato commended the rider’s role in Macadamia’s progress.

“I have to give Tiago a lot of credit for just getting on her every week, just breezing her and developing her,” the trainer said. “She was a quirky, kind of backwards filly when we got her. She just needed to acclimate to North America. She’s taken her time and now she is a (U.S.) Grade 1 winner.

“(Tiago) is a great hand, a great horseman,” D’Amato added. “When he first came here we won a lot of graded stakes together. We kind of went our own separate ways, I don’t know for what reason, but he’s come back with a fury. He has a great attitude in the morning and I think it translates to the horses.”

Campaigned by R Unicorn Stable, Macadamia improved her record to 13-5-3-2, $444,413, all on turf. The bay scored two Group 1 wins in her homeland, and placed in two others, in 2021. Her Grande Premio Margarida Polak Lara (G1) victory at Gavea earned her the Brazilian champion two-year-old filly title, after a near-miss in the Grande Premio Joao Cecilio Ferraz (G1). Early in her three-year-old campaign at Sao Paulo, she similarly came up just shy in the Grande Premio Barao Piracicaba (G1), then prevailed in the Grande Premio Henrique de Toledo Lara (G1).

Macadamia resurfaced stateside in the summer of 2022 and kept running creditably in defeat. She turned the corner with a Feb. 3 allowance score at this course and distance, and followed up with a close second to Quattroelle on the cutback to a mile in the Buena Vista (G2). The Wilshire marked her first U.S. graded win, and the Gamely made it two straight.

Bred by Haras Springfield, Macadamia is out of the stakes-placed Northern Afleet mare Une Autre Etoile, who is a half-sister to Brazilian Horse of the Year Sal Grosso. They were in turn produced by 1991 Selima (G3) heroine Ken de Saron, from the further family of Grade/Group 1 winners Roi Normand and Coquerelle.