While the four other starters in Sunday's $231,500 Vanity Handicap were being saddled in Hollywood Park's outdoor paddock, Magnificent Lindy was in isolation, in a tunnel under the stands.
It's not that Magnificent Lindy is anti-social. Last summer, however, while being saddled for the Mother Goose Stakes at Belmont Park, the 4-year-old filly reared up, flipped and threw herself to the ground. Not surprisingly, Magnificent Lindy ran a far-back fourth even though she went off at 9-5 odds, and ever since then, trainer Neil Drysdale has been cautious with her in the paddock.
When the field crossed the finish line in the Vanity, Magnificent Lindy was again isolated. Nobody else was in the picture as she won the race by five lengths over Dontstop Themusic, who was upset at 7-10 odds in a bid for her eighth lifetime stakes win at the track.
It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to Outstandingly in third place, with Bonne Ile, running on dirt for the first time, running fourth, and Truffles bleeding in the race and being unable to finish.
Magnificent Lindy, timed in 2:02 for the 1 miles, the first time the 45-year-old Vanity had been run at that distance, was the 3-1 second choice in a crowd of 33,497 and paid $8.60, $3.60 and $2.60. Dontstop Themusic paid $2.60 and $2.20 and Outstandingly's show price was $2.60.
Magnificent Lindy has now won 7 of 15 starts and, with Sunday's $137,000 purse, increased her career earnings to $492,000 for Paula Tucker. The Fort Lauderdale, Fla., woman also raced Princess Rooney with Drysdale, winning the older filly or mare championship in 1984.
Dontstop Themusic, paying the penalty for comfortably winning the Hawthorne and Milady handicaps at Hollywood earlier in the season, carried high weight of 124 pounds, which was eight more than Magnificent Lindy. In the Milady on June 28, Magnificent Lindy had finished second, 2 lengths back, when she was carrying five fewer pounds.
Randy Winick, who trains Dontstop Themusic, thought that the weight and the added distance might hurt his 6-year-old mare Sunday, and the horse he feared the most going into the race was Magnificent Lindy.
"I thought that giving that filly eight pounds at a mile and a quarter might be too much," Winick said. "This was the most weight my mare has been asked to carry, and she was unproven going this distance. And quite obviously, Magnificent Lindy needed a race last time."
The Milady was only Magnificent Lindy's second start this year, coming after a fifth-place finish in a six-furlong race on June 7, which was her first appearance in more than seven months.
Last year, Magnificent Lindy won six races and ran second 3 of 12 tries, but it was a transcontinental campaign that took her to eight race tracks--from California to New York and back again, with stops at a couple of Kentucky tracks along the way.
"She needed a good, long rest," Drysdale said. "She went to the San Luis Rey Downs training center (near San Diego), where George Scott had her. When I got her in March, she was nice and fresh."
Magnificent Lindy neither likes to sprint nor has a proclivity for grass, so Drysdale explained why her first start this year was at six furlongs on the turf.
"The race I had in mind didn't draw enough horses (to be run), so I put her in there just for the sake of giving her a race," he said. "What that meant, though, is that she went into the Milady off virtually nothing."
When Drysdale returned to his barn late Sunday, his assistant, Brad MacDonald, was on the phone from Longacres near Seattle, telling him that they had won an $87,000 purse for Honor Medal's first-place finish in the $150,000 Longacres Breeders' Cup Handicap. Drysdale had actually lost Honor Medal on a $110,000 claim at Santa Anita in April, then had the horse returned to his barn by the new owner after an unsuccessful race in Nebraska.
Dontstop Themusic was trying to become only the fourth horse to win the Vanity in successive years. She had her regular rider back, Laffit Pincay, riding for only the second day since he suffered a badly sprained ankle in a spill on June 26.
Dontstop Themusic immediately went to the front, was not pushed early and was enjoying a four-length lead over Outstandingly while being between that filly and Magnificent Lindy going down the backside.
On the turn for home, Outstandingly faltered on the rail, but Chris McCarron had Magnificent Lindy in gear on the outside. Dontstop Themusic's two-length lead at the top of the stretch vanished with about a sixteenth of a mile to go and Magnificent Lindy didn't stop running until she passed the wire.
"I spun my stick at my filly and I felt a little response," McCarron said.
"Then when I actually hit her, she really took off."
McCarron was surprised at how easily Magnificent Lindy won. "I thought Laffit had a lot of horse left," McCarron said. "But when he tapped his filly on the shoulder, she didn't go the way she did the other day."