06/18/2009 12:00AM

Magdalena's Chase has improved dramatically


GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas - Magdalena's Chase put on a sparkling display of speed last month at Lone Star Park, when she won a 5 1/2-furlong optional claimer in a rapid 1:02.20. The performance was good for a career-best Beyer Figure of 102, as well as a shot at a high-end allowance here Saturday.

Magdalena's Chase figures to go favored in the ninth race, a five-furlong turf sprint for fillies and mares. And that says a lot about her, as her competition will include multiple stakes winners Wrenice, Stealth Cat, Annie Savoy, and Ms Classic Seneca.

From all indications, Magdalena's Chase seems up to the task. She has developed into a sprinter of note over the course of the Lone Star meet, winning a $20,000 claiming race by more than six lengths April 30, then running a half-mile in 43.60 seconds in the optional claimer en route to a seven-length win May 30. In her other start at the meet, Magdalena's Chase stalked the pace and was seventh in a first-level allowance at a mile on turf April 9.

"I started galloping her in blinkers after that, and then I breezed her in them and it was like night and day," said Justin Evans, who trains Magdalena's Chase for SEJ Stables.

Evans added blinkers for the $20,000 claimer, and Magdalena's Chase put up what at that point was her best Beyer, an 87. One start later she hit triple digits. The equipment change has played a key role in her ascent.

"She had a little bit of a problem before in the gate," Evans said. "She wouldn't settle and she'd get off a step slow. But now with the blinkers on, it's focused her up where she breaks sharp. And that's where it seems she's winning a lot of her races. She beats the gate. She's three in front by the time she gets down the backside. It's been a huge change on her. Hopefully, she improves like she has been."

Magdalena's Chase indicated her sharpness for Saturday's test by working three furlongs in a bullet 33.80 seconds on June 13. For the allowance she will be moving back to turf, a surface over which she won - at five furlongs - last December.

"She's just as good on the grass as she seems to be on the dirt," Evans said. "She's versatile."

Eguard Tejera has the mount on Magdalena's Chase, who is a 4-year-old daughter of Cape Town.