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CANONIZE PROVIDES JAY EM ESS STABLE, ELLIS WITH MEMORABLE WEEKEND WHEN ADDING SANTANA MILE TO SANTA MARGARITA WIN
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 18, 2012) – Racing around two turns for the first time at the age of 6, Canonize capped a bountiful weekend for his owner and trainer on Sunday by capturing Santa Anita’s $71,800 Santana Mile by a hard-fought half-length over Gladding following a stretch-long duel.
Canonize’s first victory in a stakes race provided the Jay Em Ess Stable of Samantha Siegel and trainer Ron Ellis with a sweep of Santa Anita’s prime weekend features after Include Me Out won the biggest race of her career by taking Saturday’s Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles.
There, in fact, were some striking similarities. Both winners previously had raced primarily as sprinters. And both overtook the most fancied opponent turning into the stretch to emerge triumphant in their grandest victories.
Just as Include Me Out had done on Saturday while tracking favored Ellafitz, Canonize raced just behind pace-setter and 9-5 second choice Gladding through much of the early going.
Victor Espinoza, aboard Canonize for the fifth straight time, turned his mount loose on the turn. Gladding, ridden by Mike Smith, offered keen resistance before ceding the lead in midstretch. The victorious gelded son of Aldebaran gradually drew clear nearing the wire.
This was strictly a two-horse race. Gladding wound up 8 ¼ lengths clear of third-place Honour the Deputy in the field of six. The final time was 1:33.89 over a track labeled “good.”
“It’s been a blast,” owner Siegel said in the winner’s circle on Sunday. “We actually won an allowance race earlier today at Gulfstream Park with Believe in A. P., which was very nice. We don’t have weekends like this very often, so we need to enjoy this.”
Canonize paid $5.40, $3 and $2.60 while Gladding returned $3.40 and $3.20. The show price on Honour the Deputy, ridden by Corey Nakatani, was $4.20. Make Music for Me was a late scratch.
The victory was the fifth for Canonize in 13 career starts with four of the wins having been achieved at Santa Anita. The winning purse of $43,080 brought his career earnings to $228,784.
“There’s no reason pedigree-wise why he wouldn’t get a mile, and he always relaxes nice,” Ellis said following the Santana Mile. “I think the natural dirt is what made a difference with him. He’s always run on synthetic. As soon as he’s gotten over here, he’s a totally changed horse.
“He’ll probably skip Hollywood Park (synthetic Cushion Track) and we’ll have to ship him to some dirt track because he just doesn’t handle the synthetics the way he does the natural dirt surface. So we might have to do a little bit of traveling. Luckily, he’s a 6-year-old with a good temperament. He’ll handle it well.”
Said Espinoza, “We’ve always thought about stretching this horse out. We gave him a couple races going short, and he just doesn’t have the speed to go six furlongs against the faster horses in there. But a mile I think is one of the best distances for him. Whenever he goes easy in the beginning, he will finish the race very well.”
The Grade II, $150,000 San Luis Rey Stakes turf marathon, originally scheduled for Sunday, earlier was postponed until the following Sunday due to inclement weather. Santa Anita resumes racing on Thursday with an eight-race program that gets underway at 1 p.m.