Updated on 09/17/2011 8:50PM

Madcap Escapade's return a hit

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Gary Rothstein/EQUI-PHOTO
Madcap Escapade, and jockey Jerry Bailey, comes back after a long layoff to win the $150,000 Grade II Shirley Jones Handicap at Gulfstream Park.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - If Madcap Escapade has any weakness, it would be at the starting gate, where she occasionally has had problems in the past. After she got off a step slow at the start of Saturday's $150,000 at Gulfstream Park, even her trainer, Frank Brothers, admitted he was a bit concerned.

"I wanted to throw up after they broke," Brothers said after watching Madcap Escapade overcome the slow start to register a two-length victory over Alix M in the Grade 2 Shirley Jones. Society Selection, a three-time Grade 1 winner who was expected to give Madcap Escapade her stiffest challenge, had an even unluckier beginning. She stumbled at the break and ultimately finished last in the field of seven fillies and mares.

The Shirley Jones was Madcap Escapade's first start since she suffered her only defeat in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks on April 30, when she was a tiring third. Madcap Escapade came out of the race with a hairline fracture of the hip but has trained brilliantly for her return here since late December.

Madcap Escapade recovered from her slow start and rushed up the rail to assume control after completing the opening furlong of the seven-furlong Shirley Jones. With jockey Jerry Bailey trying to harness her abundant speed, Madcap Escapade set fractions of 22.65 seconds, 44.86, and 1:09.10. She settled into the stretch with a comfortable lead, then maintained a safe advantage while tiring slightly near the end.

Alix M chased Madcap Escapade from the outset and continued willingly to finish second, two lengths in front of D'Wildcat Speed, Slews Final Answer, Expect an Angel, Givememore, and Society Selection completed the order of finish.

Madcap Escapade's final time of 1:22.06 established a track record. She paid $3.20.

"It's always good to get the first one under your belt," said Brothers.

Brothers said he has not decided what would be next for Madcap Escapade.

"We'll enjoy this one for now and talk about her next start in a few days," he said.