Keeneland, 8th Race - April 9, 2008
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Ventura unleashed a furious rally down the middle of the main track to overtake longshot Street Sounds and go on to her first graded stakes triumph Wednesday in the Grade 2 Vinery Madison at Keeneland.
Bred and owned by Juddmonte Farms and trained by Bobby Frankel, Ventura was making her second start in North America, having won a Santa Anita turf allowance last month. Ridden by Garrett Gomez, the 4-year-old daughter of Chester House returned $10 as second choice in a field of 11 fillies and mares.
Dawn After Dawn made the first serious bid in the seven-furlong Madison, taking command leaving the half-mile pole, but then Street Sounds moved alongside to challenge, finally nudging past inside the eighth pole. Ventura, who earlier had been caught behind horses and even appeared to trail the entire field in the vicinity of the quarter pole, rushed through an opening between rivals after turning for home and came flying to win by a length over Street Sounds, a 27-1 shot. Dawn After Dawn was third and Wild Gams was fourth. Zada Belle, the 2-1 favorite, faded to ninth.
Ventura had never even run in a group race in England, where she had made eight combined starts at 2 and 3, but she "has really come along in this country," said Frankel. "I think her game is going to be on the grass, where she can show her turn of foot. I think she's going to be a very, very good filly."
Ventura earned $124,000 from the $200,000 purse after finishing in 1:22.06 on Polytrack.
The win was the third of the day for Gomez, who earlier won a 2-year-old maiden race aboard Dicey Riley ($7.40) and an allowance race on Carnacks Choice ($26.60). The victory for Carnacks Choice, trained by Greg Foley, was his first in six races since he won the Lafayette Stakes at Keeneland last April 7.