By: Curtis “Magic” Kalleward
LEXINGTON, KY – An ultra-game Guarana fought back along the rail in the final stages to give trainer Chad Brown his 100th career Grade 1 victory in Saturday’s $250,000 Madison Stakes at Keeneland.
Breaking from post 5 under Jose Ortiz as the 1/2 favorite, Guarana cleared her inner foes and held a slim lead over Mia Mischief heading down the backstretch.
Halfway through the far turn, Mia Mischief ranged up and emerged at the top of the stretch with a slim lead. She looked home free for a moment, but Ortiz re-engaged Guarana at the 1/8 pole with left-handed encouragement.
Surging bravely along the rail, Guarana outkicked Mia Mischief in the final stages to win by a 1/2-length in a final time of 1:21.70 for the 7-furlong fast main track sprint.
“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 starting to get a little disappointed, but I could see at the 1/16 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.”