Given a well-timed ride by regular pilot Talamo, Include Me Not went to the lead in the upper stretch and then was forced to go all-out to hold off the late charge of Star Billing and Rafael Bejarano, winning by a neck in fast 1:41.96 for the mile and one-sixteenth over the main track.
Include Me Out, a four-year-old daughter of Include conditioned by Ron Ellis, not only earned first prize of $180,000 with her sixth triumph in 11 starts, she also won an automatic berth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic Nov. 2 at Santa Anita since the Hirsch Stakes is a “Win and You’re In” qualifier.
Include Me Out, a stablemate of Rail Trip who won the San Diego Handicap a week ago for the same connections, Jay Em Ess Stable and trainer Ellis, went postward the 8-5 favorite and returned $5.20, $3.20 and $2.60. The Hirsch marked her second Grade I success, having won the Santa Margarita last winter. She now earned $683,600 in her career.
Star Billing, who went postward at 9-1 despite the presence of stakes-riding star Bejarano, returned $6.20 and $3.60, while Amani, who was ridden by Garrett Gomez, paid $3.40 to show.
Although narrowly beaten in the Hirsch, Bejarano had a productive day, booting in three winners – Roar Baby Roar ($18) in the first, Rolling Fog ($4) in the fifth and Classic Legacy ($4.40) in the sixth.
After 14 days of the Del Mar summer season, Bejarano occupies the top spot in the rider standings with 22 winners, two more than Gomez who had a single victory, on the promising two-year-old first-time starter Capo Bastone ($5) in the seventh race.