ARCADIA, Calif. (July 1, 2017)–Nick can’t say “no” and his prized California-bred filly, Enola Gray simply couldn’t be caught on Saturday at Santa Anita. Owned and bred by the popular owner of Nick Alexander Automotive Imports, famous in LA for his “Nick Can’t Say No” radio commercials, heavily favored Enola Gray went to the front in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Wilshire Stakes and took no prisoners, winning easily by two lengths under first-time pilot Flavien Prat. Trained by Phil D’Amato, the 4-year-old daughter of Grazen got a flat mile on turf in 1:33.03.
Breaking on terms with Juno, who drew the rail with Gary Stevens, Enola Gray easily out-footed her Brazilian-bred counterpart into the Club House turn and the Wilshire was, for all intents and purposes, over at that point, as Enola Gray opened up a five length advantage after the first half mile and bounded through the homestretch in a manner indicating the field could have gone around the oval again with the result being the same.
“She was ultra-impressive today,” said D’Amato. To set those kind of fractions (22.36, 44.72, 1:08.73 and 1:20.79) and finish like she did…When she kicked in, I said ‘Wow, maybe this is what she wanted to do all along,’ and he still couldn’t pull her up on the backside!
“Tyler Baze has been asking me, ‘When are you gonna stretch her out?’ Tyler had to be at Monmouth Park today for more money, so we were lucky to get Flavien and he gave her a great ride.”
Although a disappointing fifth as the 6-5 favorite in the Grade II Monrovia Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf course on May 27, Enola Gray was hammered to even money status today and paid $4.00, $3.00 and $2.40.
“She’s just naturally fast,” said Prat, who was aboard Enola Gray for the first time today. “The first part, she’s not that quick but once I got to the first turn, she got her stride and started to pick up the bit. Finally, on the backside, she dropped it. I know she was going fast but she was comfortable…She’s just talented.”
Out of Alexander’s More Than Ready mare, Unsung Hero, Enola Gray notched her first graded stakes victory and improved her overall mark to 11-7-2-1. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $573,100.
Ridden by Joe Talamo, Argentine-bred Madame Stripes tried to make a race of it the final eighth of a mile, but had to settle for second, finishing 3 ½ lengths in front of stablemate Juno. Off at 7-1, Madame Stripes paid $6.00 and $3.20.
Juno held third by a half length over Sheeza Milky Way and paid $3.00 to show.
Racing resumes with a nine-race card on Sunday at Santa Anita. First post time is at 1 p.m. and admission gates open at 11 a.m.