April 16, 2024

Guarana battles back in Madison to give Brown 100 Grade 1 wins

Guarana wins the Madison Stakes (Coady Photography)

Guarana courageously re-rallied in deep stretch to edge Mia Mischief in a thrilling $250,000 Madison Stakes, providing four-time reigning Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown with 100TH Grade 1 victory. Now a three-time Grade 1 heroine, Guarana improved to 4-for-4 at one-turn distances and finished 7-furlongs in a quick 1:21.32, the third-fastest time since Keeneland went back to dirt in 2014.

“It’s right up there near the top,” Brown said of his 100TH win. “It’s a whole body of work from 12 1/2 years now of training. It has to do with my team of co-workers, owners and horses both present and past. They all contributed to the 100 Grade 1s. God willing if everything stays intact, we’ll work on the next 100. But we’re going to enjoy this for now.”

Owned by Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine and breeder Three Chimneys Farm, Guarana set the pace as the 1-2 favorite, establishing splits in :22.95 and :45.92 while being tracked by Grade 1-winning millionaire Mia Mischief in second.

Mia Mischief launched her bid leaving the far turn, overhauling Guarana and taking half-length advantage with a furlong remaining, but jockey Jose Ortiz asked Guarana for everything and the 4-year-old filly responded. Guarana drove back up the inside to regain lead approaching the wire and prevailed by a half-length under the wire.

“It unfolded how I feared with Mia Mischief having the better post on the outside of us and being able to hound us a bit,” Brown said. “I thought turning for home that the post really did us in this race, and I was started to get a little disappointed. But I could see at the sixteenth pole that she was finding her stride again and I think 7 (furlongs) is maybe a tick far for the other filly. We were able to come back on her.”

Guarana confirmed herself as a leading contender for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Keeneland in early November.

“To get another win over Keeneland’s track ahead of the Breeders’ Cup (with Guarana) is very important too,” Brown said. “And my team has done a really good job… (Guarana) showed her heart. She showed that she’s a very special horse, which we’ve known for a long time.”

By Ghostzapper, Guarana improved her overall record to 6-5-1-0 while exceeding $1 million in earnings ($1,078,268). The Kentucky-bred filly captured her first three starts last year, including convincing tallies on the Acorn (G1) and Coaching Club American Oaks (G1), before concluding her season with a runner-up in the 1 1/8-mile Cotillion (G1) in late September. She opened this year with an easy allowance score at Churchill Downs.

Mia Mischief easily held second at 8-1 odds, with Bell’s the One finishing 3 1/4 lengths back in third. Next came Wildwood’s Beauty, Sally’s Curlin, Unique Factor, Amy’s Challenge, and Diamond Crazy.

Guarana counts stakes winner Magic Dance as a half-sister, and both fillies are out of the Distorted Humor mare Magical World.