By Jay Privman
DEL MAR, Calif. – From the time Richard Mandella took over as the trainer of Majestic Heat, he had given thought to running her on dirt, based on the way she trained on the surface, but because she was doing so well on turf, he left well enough alone.
But after Majestic Heat failed to fire in the Grade 2 Goldikova on the turf here at Del Mar on Nov. 4, Mandella thought the Betty Grable eight days hence provided the ideal time to experiment.
“The day after the race, she didn’t look like a horse that had run,” Mandella said. “She just mailed it in. She works like she can sprint on the dirt. I always was interested in running her on the dirt. She works on it like a star.”
The experiment worked. Majestic Heat, looking as though she’s wanted to sprint on dirt all her life, powered clear of seven rivals with a dominating victory Sunday in the $100,690 Betty Grable, for older California-bred females going seven furlongs.
Majestic Heat ($9.20) beat Barbara Beatrice by 3 1/4 lengths, with Late ’n Left another 2 1/2 lengths back in third. How About Zero, the 3-1 favorite, was fourth and was followed by Run for Retts, Bad Ju Ju, Cuddle Alert, and Time for Ebby.
Flavien Prat rode Majestic Heat, who covered seven furlongs on the fast main track in 1:22.56.
“If it didn’t work, so what? It wouldn’t be my first mistake,” Mandella said.
Mandella had Majestic Heat transferred to him a little more than two years ago, when her original trainer, Barry Abrams – who also is the co-breeder and is a co-owner of Majestic Heat – had to retire owing to health problems. Abrams was known for often wheeling his runners back on short rest.
“I’m sure everybody’s thinking Barry told me to do this,” Mandella said.
Majestic Heat, a 5-year-old mare by Unusual Heat, had raced 14 times previously, all on turf, winning five. She’s been not quite good enough against graded company but is a terror against California-breds. She won the Solana Beach on this course at the summer meets in both 2016 and 2017.
She has now earned $410,329 for a partnership that includes Abrams, Madeline Auerbach, and Ron McCauley.
Mandella said he’s not sure if Majestic Heat will race at age 6, and he’s not about to ask.
“I’m going to keep going until they pull me up,” he said.