MADEO IS BACK, RUNS OFF WITH THURSDAY'S KINGS HIGHWAY PURSE

ARCADIA, Calif. (March 12, 2009) – Pulled up by jockey Mike Smith after taking a bad step in the Grade II San Fernando Stakes on Jan. 17, Madeo got back in stride Thursday with a powerful triumph in Santa Anita’s $64,200 King’s Highway Purse at one mile on turf.

The 4-year-old colt, who had taken last summer’s Grade II Del Mar Derby, seemed to explode on the far outside through the stretch while racing to a two-length victory over Sky Cape with Safety Zone another half-length back in third.

After competing in Grade I or Grade II events in his past six starts, the King’s Purse was a decided drop in company for Madeo, but doubtless wary of events surrounding his previous race, the public sent him off as the 3-1 second choice.

“We were so happy that Mike was aboard to pull him up and he was okay,” trainer John Shirreffs said in reference to the San Fernando. “We had vets go over him carefully at the barn and do X-rays. Everything looked good.”

Madeo proved as much on Thursday while running the distance in 1:34.22 and returning $8.80, $4.40 and $3.40. Sky Cape, with Chantal Sutherland aboard, paid $9 and $5.60. Safety Zone, handled by Patrick Husbands, paid $5.80 to show.

For an overnight allowance event, the King’s Highway Purse was packed with talent. The field of nine included four horses whose resumes included Grade I or Grade II victories.

Mast Track, winner of last June’s Grade I Hollywood Gold Park, was bet down to 17-10 favoritism with David Flores in the saddle. But owner-trainer Bobby Frankel’s 5-year-old earner of $759,622 finished sixth in a dull effort that included a lack of racing room around the turn for home.

The winning purse of $37,800 increased Madeo’s earnings to $385,715 for owners Jerry and Ann Moss while his record ascended to 4-2-0 in eleven starts.

Santa Anita’s popular “Free Fridays” promotion continues on Friday with the track offering free admission plus free box seats on a first-come, first-served basis. Hot dogs, beer, sodas, popcorn and coffee are priced at $1. The eight-race program gets underway at 1 p.m.

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