LEXINGTON, KY (April 12, 2014) – Owner-trainer Wesley Ward’s ultra-consistent Judy the Beauty notched the first Grade 1 victory of her career by romping to a 2 ½-length victory over Better Lucky in the 13th running of the $300,000 Madison on Saturday afternoon at Keeneland.
Also capturing a Grade 1 victory was Hillsbrook Farms’ Hard Not to Like, who prevailed by a half-length over Discreet Marq in the 26th running of the $300,000 Jenny Wiley for fillies and mares.
In the Madison, Judy the Beauty assumed command from Eden Prairie at the top of the stretch and drew clear for her third graded stakes victory. The $180,000 winner’s check made Judy the Beauty a millionaire with earnings of $1,005,757 with a record of 15-7-7-1.
The victory was the second for jockey John Velazquez in the race to go with a score on Informed Decision in 2009.
A Keeneland September Yearling Sale graduate, Judy the Beauty covered the seven furlongs on the fast main track in 1:22.86 in improving her Keeneland record to four-for-four. Judy the Beauty is a 5-year-old, Canadian-bred daughter of Ghostzapper out of the Holy Bull mare Holy Blitz.
Judy the Beauty returned $3.20, $2.60 and $2.10. Better Lucky, ridden by Javier Castellano, returned $4.40 and $3.20 and finished 2¼ lengths in front of Apropos, who finished third under Shaun Bridgmohan and returned $4.40 to show.
Heir Kitty finished fourth and was followed by Eden Prairie, Cozze Up Lady, Byrama (GB) and Wildcat Lily.
In the Jenny Wiley, jockey Javier Castellano had Hard Not to Like in midpack early as Discreet Marq dueled on the front end with Cloud Scapes and Class Included through fractions of :23.77 and :48.61.
Entering the stretch, Castellano was in among horses and waited for room, finally diving to the inside at the sixteenth pole and wearing down Discreet Marq near the wire.
It was the first victory in the race for Castellano and trainer Michael Matz.
Hard Not to Like, who finished ninth in the Jenny Wiley last year and was runner-up in the 2012 Central Bank Ashland (G1), covered the 1 1/16 miles on a firm turf course in 1:42.38.
Hard Not to Like is a 5-year-old, Canadian-bred daughter of Hard Spun out of the Tactical Cat mare Like a Gem. She improved her record to 16-6-2-1 and her earnings to $721,671 with Saturday’s $180,000 check.
Hard Not to Like returned $29, $12.20 and $7.20. Discreet Marq, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., returned $5.40 and $4 with Abaco rallying for third a nose back under Jose Lezcano and paying $11.60 to show.
Emotional Kitten finished a head back in fourth and was followed in order by defending champion Centre Court, Cloud Scapes, Kitten’s Point, Stephanie’s Kitten, Fitful Skies (IRE) and Class Included.