The pride of Western Canada, Manitoba-bred Escape Clause took full command midway around the far turn en route to a resounding 5 ½ length win in Saturday's Grade III, $100,000 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita—her first ever graded stakes win. Owned and trained by Don Schnell and ridden by Tyler Baze, Escape Clause, who is believed to be the first Manitoba-bred stakes winner in Santa Anita history, got a mile and one sixteenth over a wet fast main track in 1:41.89.
“I had a beautiful trip, I wasn't sure really what the other two (horses) were gonna do,” said Baze. “They (Stradella Road and True Royalty) went and I just sat there and when I said 'Go,' man…she took off with me. When she got the lead, she kind of pulled up a little bit…Down the stretch, she was just galloping…I was hollering 'Come on mama, keep running!' She's amazing.”
A winner of nine consecutive starts, eight of them stakes, dating from June 8 at Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, Manitoba through a restricted stakes score going one mile on turf at Del Mar Nov. 9, Escape Clause was most recently a troubled fourth here in the Grade III Robert J. Frankel Stakes on Dec. 29.
Off at even money in a field of six older fillies and mares, Escape Clause, who is by the Unbridled's Song stallion Going Commando and out of the Circulating mare Danger Pay, paid $4.20, $2.80 and $2.40
“She was just built like a horse that was gonna grow up and hopefully be something,” said Schnell in reference to buying Escape Clause as a youngster. “I know we bought other ones that hadn't panned out, but this was one that (did) and she's a nice filly. I used to say anytime I got a good horse, I'd like to come to Santa Anita and win a race…And I'm glad I did now.”
In notching her 17th overall stakes win, Escape Clause improved her career mark to 28-19-3-3 and with the winner's share of $60,000, increased her earnings to $423,500.
Kentucky-bred K P Wildcat, who came west with a stellar resume compiled in New Mexico, rallied from far off the pace to secure second, 2 ¾ lengths clear of Lemoona. Handled by her regular rider Roimes Chirinos, K P Wildcat was off at 5-1 and paid $4.60 and $3.20.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, Lemoona, who finished a half length in front of early leader Stradella Road, was off at 9-2 and paid $3.20 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.02, 46.25, 1:10.15 and 1:35.17.
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