Majestic Heat rallied from midpack in Sunday’s $201,035 Bayakoa Stakes (G2) under jockey Mike Smith to pull off a 2 1/2-length victory in just her second start on dirt for trainer Richard Mandella.
Champagne Room, the champion two-year-old filly of 2016, led the way through swift splits of :22.86, :46.73 and 1:10.32 while tracked by Shenandoah Queen to her outside. Meanwhile, Majestic Heat bided her time in midpack running about four wide down the backstretch.
As Champagne Room, still under a snug hold from Mario Gutierrez, approached the turn, the rest of the field attempted to corral her but failed to reel in the filly. Suddenly Majestic Heat appeared on the outside and wore down her rival to complete 1 1/16 miles over the fast main track in 1:42.15.
Sent off the 3-1 third pick in the eight-horse field, Majestic Heat paid $8 for the win. Champagne Room was best of the rest, 3 1/4 lengths in front of Madame Stripes. Completing the order under the wire was Bernina Star, 5-2 favorite Pacific Wind, Street Surrender, Shenandoah Queen and Constellation.
Campaigned by Madeline Auerbach and Barry Abrams, Majestic Heat earned her first graded win in this spot and improved her career record to 16-7-1-0, $530,329. The dark bay daughter of Unusual Heat got a late start to the year, kicking off her five-year-old campaign with a title defense win in the Solana Beach Stakes on August 11. She made her main track debut prior to the Bayakoa, capturing the Betty Grable Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths on November 12 at Del Mar.
Bred in California by M. Auerbach LLC, Bardy Farm and Ron McCauley, Majestic Heat is out of the winning Ole’ mare Chi Chi Nette, making her a full sister to Grade 1-placed multiple stakes winner Mensa Heat. This female family has also produced Grade 1 vixen Victory Encounter.
Mike Smith, jockey Majestic Heat, winner
“The plan was to let her run out of there and see what everybody else did. 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.”
Richard Mandella, trainer Majestic Heat, winner
“I’ve always had it in my mind to try her on dirt. I mentioned it to (part owner and co-breeder 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 November 4 Goldikova Stakes [G2]) 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.”