Sent off at odds of 8-1 after futilely chasing Teddy’s Promise in the Grade I La Brea Stakes at seven furlongs on Dec. 31, Jay Em Ess Stable’s Include Me Out willingly responded to her first assignment around two turns following six sprint races.
She crossed the finish line in 1:41.89. Great Hot, the 5-2 second-choice ridden by Chantal Sutherland, checked in a distant second, three-quarters-of-a-length ahead of 17-10 favorite Tiz Flirtatious and jockey Joel Rosario.
Talamo said that after the riders of Tiz Flirtatious and third-choice Capital Plan, Rafael Bejarano, made early moves, “I just had to ease back.” The turn of events was opportune. “After that, she just ran great,” Talamo continued. He singled out trainer Ron Ellis. “Ron has done a great job with her coming back after the La Brea,” he said. “She was so fresh and ready today, and full of run.”
“She got in behind horses,” Ellis said in recalling his filly’s fifth-place finish in the La Brea. “But I think being by Include, she was dying to go two turns, and it’s been kind of a process getting her up to it. She fired today, that’s for sure.
“I thought she looked great the whole race. She was very relaxed, and with the pace scenario, I thought Joe had her in a perfect spot. She just looked comfortable all the way. She’s just been learning coming up to this, but pedigree-wise she wanted to go two turns. I felt good about it.”
Purchased for $150,000 at sale in July of 2009, Include Me Out earned $90,000 while rewarding her backers at $19, $6.40 and $3.40. Great Hot paid $3.60 and $2.40. Tiz Flirtatious returned $2.60. Include Me Out’s total earnings became $183,600 from a 3-2-0 record in seven starts.
Ellis and Samantha Siegel, who runs Jay Em Ess Stable, will endeavor to keep their pair of standout 4-year-old fillies apart, at least, for a while. Teddy’s Promise is ticketed to come back in next Saturday’s Grade I, $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes at seven furlongs.
Marty Jones, who trains Tiz Flirtatious, said his filly encountered a few problems, but it probably was not of great consequence. “Joel (Rosario) had to get her running a little bit to try and get position,” he said, “but she got a little rank. That might have affected her chance to win, but the way the winner ran, I don’t know if anybody was going to beat her today. That filly ran a really good race.”
Midnight Transfer made the successful leap from maiden breaker to stakes winner in the earlier $82,500 San Pedro Stakes for 3-year-olds with a strong finish to edge Got Even by a head at the wire in 1:14.25 for 6 ½ furlongs.
A late-developing son of Hard Spun, Midnight Transfer had taken four races to break his maiden, but when doing so on Santa Anita’s opening day, Dec. 26, he did so stunningly by 4 ¾ lengths while covering six furlongs in 1:08.
Rosario, back aboard in the 20th running of the San Pedro, timed his chestnut colt’s rally just right while bringing Midnight Transfer from next to last as the field of six turned for home. Rosario kept his mount on the rail, found an opening at the top of the stretch, and swung outside to complete the late charge.
“Sometimes you have to get lucky when you have the inside post position and we did,” said Rosario. “He finished up really strong, and I think he can run long. I think he can do anything.”
“We’re hoping to stretch him out,” said Carla Gaines, who trains Midnight Transfer for Warren Williamson. “We’ll look at the San Felipe Stakes (Grade II, $300,000 at 1 1/16 miles on March 10). We’ll see how he comes out of this. But we’re very excited about how he closed.”
Got Even, who set all the pace under Corey Nakatani, held the place by 2 ½ lengths over Let’s Get Crackin with Victor Espinoza in the saddle. Drill, the 8-5 favorite who had won last September’s Grade I Del Mar Futurity, tried to rally, but flattened out to finish fifth while ridden by Martin Garcia.
“He was too far back,” opined Bob Baffert, who trains Drill. “Then he made that big wide move. You just can’t do that. I thought he’d be up closer, but I’ve got to talk to Martin.”
The second choice at 2-1, Midnight Transfer paid $6.40, $3.80 and $3. Got Even returned $4.40 and $3.60. The show price on 30-1 shot Let’s Get Crackin was $5.80. The winning purse of $46,800 boosted the career earnings of Midnight Transfer to $96,050. He was purchased last April at auction for $80,000.
After three dark days, racing will resume on Thursday at Santa Anita with an eight-race program that gets underway at 1 p.m.