CANADIEN-BRED ESCAPE CLAUSE, TRUE ROYALTY, LEMOONA & K P WILDCAT ALL PROMINENT IN SATURDAY’S GRADE II, $200,000 LA CANADA STAKES AT 1 1/16 MILES
ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 9, 2019)–A Cinderella story from the plains of western Canada, Owner/trainer Don Schnell’s Escape Clause, a winner of nine consecutive races from June 8 through Nov. 9 of last year, heads a wide open field of seven older fillies and mares going 1 1/16 miles in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita.
Along with Escape Clause, John Sadler’s True Royalty, who enters Saturday’s La Canada on the heels of a nearly three month freshening , Richard Baltas-trained Lemoona, who showed good promise in her Southern California debut four starts back in July and New Mexico-based K P Wildcat, the leading money earner in the field, help to make the race a competitive affair with no clear cut standout.
Owner: Don Schnell
Trainer: Don Schnell
A 5-year-old mare bred in Manitoba, Canada, she’s by far the most accomplished horse in the race, as she sports an overall mark of 27-18-3-3, with earnings of $363,500. A winner of eight straight races at tracks ranging from Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, to Canterbury Park in Minnesota, to Northlands Park in Edmonton, to Centennial Downs in Calgary, Escape Clause made her West Coast debut in the one mile turf Kathryn Crosby Stakes at Del Mar Nov. 9, a race in which she finished second, but was moved up to the win via disqualification. Subsequently a close third in the Grade III Red Carpet Handicap going 1 3/8 miles on turf Nov. 22, she was most recently a trouble fourth, beaten three lengths, in the Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf here Dec. 29. A return to dirt and a distance at which she’s won two of her four starts, coupled with the first-time presence of Tyler Baze, make her the top selection in a wide open affair.
Owner: Batchelor Family Trust
Trainer: John Sadler
Attentive to the early pace, she was an easy 3 ½ length winner of the Grade III Torrey Pines Stakes at a flat mile on dirt three starts back on Aug. 26. Subsequently an even sixth at odds of 7-1 in the ungraded Unzip Me at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course Sept. 29, this 4-year-old Florida-bred daughter of Yes It’s True was most recently distanced after a trouble start in the Grade II, seven furlong Raven Run at Keeneland on Oct. 20. Freshened by Sadler, she’ll be reunited with Joel Rosario, who has ridden her once–in her sixth place run in the Unzip Me.
Owner: Zayat Stables, LLC
Trainer: Richard Baltas
Originally trained by Bill Mott in New York, where she broke her maiden going a one turn mile in her fifth start at Aqueduct on Dec. 8, 2017, she resurfaced after an eighth month hiatus to take a one mile allowance for Baltas at Del Mar on July 27. Well beaten by True Royalty in the Grade III Torrey Pines Aug. 26, she was then a much improved fourth, beaten 4 ¼ lengths, in the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Zenyatta Stakes here on Sept. 30. Most recently an even sixth, beaten 3 ½ lengths in a one mile turf allowance here on Dec. 30, Lemoona returns to dirt and is reunited with leading man Flavien Prat, who guided her to her Del Mar win in July.
K P WILDCAT
Owner: Karl Pergola
Trainer: Jeff Mullins
The leading money earner in the race with $510,636, this 6-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Include has made 20 out of her 21 career starts in New Mexico and is thus one of the biggest question marks in the race as she’ll be making her first graded stakes start on Saturday. Although the great majority of her races have come at sprint distances, she is 3-1-1-1 at 1 1/16 miles, with her most recent win coming at that distance three starts back in a minor stakes at Ruidoso Downs on Sept. 3. A respectable third in her only start outside New Mexico, a one mile turf allowance at Del Mar on Sept. 1, 2016, K P Wildcat is 21-13-3-3 overall and will be ridden by Roimes Chirinos, who has been aboard in 12 out of her last 13 starts–winning nine of them.
THE GRADE II LA CANADA STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 8 of 9
Approximate post time 4 p.m. PT
- Exuberance–Geovanni Franco–120
- Stradella Road–Rafael Bejarano–120
- Lemoona–Flavien Prat–120
- True Royalty–Joel Rosario–122
- Bernina Star–Kent Desormeaux–120
- Escape Clause–Tyler Baze–120
- K P Wildcat–Roimes Chirinos–120
First post time for a nine-race card on Saturday is at 12:30 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.