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CHURCH CAMP, NAKATANI COMBINE FOR UPSET IN MOONDANCE PURSE
ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2011) – Second in her two previous starts after Corey Nakatani had taken the reins, Church Camp raced into the winner’s circle under the veteran jockey on Friday when scoring a mild upset in Santa Anita’s $64,140 Moondance Purse for fillies and mares at seven furlongs.
The 4-year-old daughter of Forest Camp outfinished Excellent News by one-half length while 13-10 favorite Crisis of Spirit, who had been competing in graded stakes company last year, settled for third, another three-quarters of a length back in the field of nine. The winning time was 1:22.23.
Trained by Brian Koriner, Church Camp not only has found a productive partner in Nakatani, but has demonstrated that she is most comfortable racing on dirt surfaces.
She had broken her maiden by 4 ¾ lengths over Churchill Downs’ dirt track in November of 2009. When finally returning to a dirt surface at Santa Anita on Jan. 11, she ran a bang-up second to Salty Sarah before gaining her third career win in eight starts on Friday.
Church Camp tracked pace-setter Stockings through rapid fractions that included a half-mile in 44.67 and six furlongs in 1:08.92 before gaining the lead in midstretch and gamely resisting the bid by Excellent News with Martin Garcia aboard.
The winner paid $11.40, $5.20 and $3.40. Excellent News returned mutuels of $9.80 and $5. Crisis of Spirit, ridden by Mike Smith, paid $2.60 to show.
The victory was worth $35,400 to the partnership of Legacy Ranch, Judith Carmel and Strauss Racing Bros. The winning purse lifted Church Camp’s career earnings to $99,200.
On Saturday, Santa Anita launches a three-day holiday weekend of racing through Presidents’ Day on Monday. The Grade II San Luis Obispo Stakes and Grade II San Carlos Handicap are co-featured on Saturday when a nine-race program commences at 12:30 p.m.