News and STORIES

Fighting Mad Takes Clement L. Hirsch Stakes

Author: Clint Goodman
Published: Monday August 03, 2020
Trainer Bob Baffert, partners Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith saw their filly Fighting Mad win the Aug. 2, $250,500 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) at Del Mar. The victory came one week after Maximum Security made his first start for the connections and won the San Diego Handicap (G2) at the track.

Both Maximum Security and Fighting Mad are by New Year's Day, the winner of the 2013 edition of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile (G1) for the Wests. He now stands at stud in Japan. The two 4-year-olds are the first grade 1 winners to come from their sire. 

Coming Into the Event

Fighting Mad's first stakes-level victory came a year ago in the Torrey Pines Stakes (G3) at Del Mar. She came back on May 17 after being on a nine-month break to win the May 31 Santa Maria Stakes (G2) over grade 1 winners Hard Not to Love and Ce Ce. 

These rivals faced off once again in the Clement L. Hirsch, with Fighting Mad coming in as the 9-5 favorite. The West's Kentucky homebred broke from the outside post six and moved ahead early, setting fractions of 23.15, :46.55, and 1:10.57 through the first six furlongs. 

It was Baffert's first win in the Clement L. Hirsch.

"I was a little bit worried about her because she was getting pretty warm in the paddock. But Abel knows her pretty well, and he knows speed is her weapon," Baffert said. "To look at her, you wouldn't think she could go (a distance), but when she started opening up, I figured he must know what he's doing. Basically, she ran them off their feet. The way she acted in the paddock, she ran an incredible race. She was trembling and sweating, and I was worried, but once the race started, she was pretty serious."

The Running

Ollie's Candy was the defending winner from last year, and she was looking for her first victory in a year. She followed closely in second, 1 1/2 lengths behind the pacesetter. 

Ce Ce was bumped right out of the gate as Hard Not to Love moved in. The former finished fourth while the latter came in last. 

Ollie's Candy chased Fighting Mad down the homestretch while Ce Ce made a four-wide bid into the lane, but the leader was able to hold on. Fighting Mad fended off Ollie's Candy and kept her a half-length away, with the final time on the fast track being 1:43.46. 

Cedillo was the jockey on board. He was the rider for the Baffert-trained Thousand Words in their victory in the Aug. 1 Shared Belief Stakes.

"I had the same instructions today that I had yesterday," said Cedillo. "Get her out of there and see if you can get to the front. She really broke sharply and wanted to go right away. I got her to relax some on the backside; then, she went right on with it. She's just an amazing filly."

With the Breeders' Cup Challenge series victory, Fighting Mad received a berth in the Nov. 7 Longines Breeders' Cup Distaff (G1) at Keeneland. 

The rest of the field was completed with Ce Ce in third, followed by Hang a Star and Dogtag. Hard Not to Love finished last in the race.

Fighting Mad is one of five winners from the same amount of starters out of the Forestry mare Smokey's Love. Her sixth foal is a yearling colt by American Pharoah, and it was reported that she was bred to Union Rags this year.

Fighting Mad now has five wins and a second-place finish from eight starts, and her earnings are at $444,008.