Inaugurated in 2002, the Madison Stakes sponsored by Vinery Stud has experienced a meteoric rise in prominence in its brief history. The race, which began as a listed stakes race, was promoted to Grade 3 status in 2005, and was upgraded to a Grade 2 event in 2006 before reaching the Grade 1 level in 2009. The Vinery Madison is run at Keeneland in early April and carries a purse of $300,000. Run at seven furlongs, the race has attracted many of the top female sprinters in training including five Breeders’ Cup winners.
Winners of the Vinery Madison posted wins in three consecutive editions of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint from 2012-2014, and back to back victories in 2008 and 2009. In 2012, Groupie Doll captured the Madison en route to winning both the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and Champion Female Sprint Horse at the Eclipse Awards in 2012 and 2013. Like Groupie Doll, 2014 Madison winner Judy the Beauty also went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on dirt at Santa Anita after winning the Madison on Polytrack. Groupie Doll retired with career earnings totaling over $2.6 million, while Judy the Beauty finished her 2014 campaign with over $1.6 million with the expectation to resume training in 2015.
The Madison also featured a pair of world class sprinters and rivals in 2008 and 2009 represented by Ventura (2008) and Informed Decision (2009) – with both mares using their wins in the race to propel them to victories in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. Ventura, trained by the late Bobby Frankel, was also a Grade 1 winner on turf and earned over $2.5 million in her stellar career. After pulling the 2008 Vinery Madison/Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint double, the champion mare returned to Keeneland for the 2009 Vinery Madison where she fell just short to Informed Decision. The pair went to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint where Ventura finished second to Informed Decision again in a thrilling battle of Vinery Madison legends. In 2011, Musical Romance finished off the board in the Vinery Madison, but redeemed herself in grand fashion by winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint later that year.
The Vinery Madison will be run on dirt in 2015 for the first time since 2006 reflecting Keeneland’s decision to return to a natural surface. 2010 Vinery Madison winner Dr. Zic holds the speed record for the race with her 1:21.32 mark in 2010. No horse, trainer or owner has won the Vinery Madison more than once, but jockey Edgar Prado has three wins with Victory Ride (2002), Dubai Escapade (2006) and Mary Delaney (2007).
Madison Stakes Betting Odds
The 2015 Madison provided a bit of an upset when 9-2 Princess Violet topped the field over star filly and multiple Grade 1 stakes winner Stopchargingmaria. There was no confusion, however, but rather lots of celebration for any handicappers who had put 28-1 Clearly Confused on the bottom of a trifecta ticket with those two, when the Richard Baltas-trainee rallied in the stretch to get up for third, triggering a tri payout of $542.80. You can find live longshots to score big payouts when you place your bets online with Bovada’s racebook, our long-time, top-rated online racebook partner.
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2017 Madison Stakes Contenders
Despite having three graded-stakes wins to her credit, Sheer Drama was up against a loaded field in the 2016 Madison, including a pair of Breeders’ Cup champions in the form of Stopchargingmaria and Wavell Avenue, and so when the gate opened, she was no better than fourth in the betting pool at a generous 8-1. When the dust had settled at the end, those who did back her at that price were rewarded with a win, after an exciting stretch duel that saw any of four horse in with a chance. Breaking from the gate, jockey Joe Bravo kept Sheer Drama within striking dsitance on the rail, behind solid early fractions that saw Sunday Rules maintain an early lead by just a head. Turning for home, both Stopcharingmaria and Sheer Drama angled out for their stretch run, and right into the last 100 yards it looked like the 2015 BC Distaff winner would prevail, but Sheer Drama found just enough late to get the win by a neck, while Wavell Avenue was two lengths back in third.
2016 Order of Finish: Win Place Show
1st: Sheer Drama 18.80 8.00 4.60
2nd: Stopchargingmaria 4.20 2.80
3rd: Wavell Avenue 4.00
(Also Ran: Birdatthewire, Enchanting Lady, Dancing House, Spelling Again, Clothes Fall Off, Sunday Rules, Super Majesty, Fioretti)
For the 2017 Madison Stakes contenders check back closer to race day!