In a thrilling head and head stretch duel, Lady Ninja was up to win Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 LA Woman Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif., by a nose under Drayden Van Dyke. Trained by Richard Baltas, the 5-year-old mare by Majesticperfection got 6 ½ furlongs in 1:16.79.
With Selcourt breaking from the far outside in a field of five fillies and mares three and up, Lady Ninja, who broke from the inside with the program scratch of Flor de La Mar, broke alertly and was full of run while third inside Anonymity, who was ridden by Victor Espinoza.
“She broke good today, compared to last time (when third in the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 11),” said Van Dyke. “After that, I had to wait and see where I could get out. When the four (Anonymity) backed out, I was able to get outside of Selcourt and from there, she was really game.”
Claimed for $32,000 ten starts back on Sept. 1, 2018, Lady Ninja, who collected her first stakes win today, was off at 5-2 and paid $7.40, $3.40 and $2.10.
Owned by Harry Bederian, Harout Kamberian, Hagop Nakkashian and Richard Baltas, Lady Ninja, who is out of the Formal Gold mare Dressed to Kill, picked up $60,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $321,705. A winner of four out of her seven starts this year, she is now 22-8-4-4 overall.
“She's been in those stretch duels before and she's won 'em,” said Baltas. “I know that she ran her race today. She's been an over-achiever, that's all I can tell you…She came from inside today and she split horses and she ground it out. I'm happy.”
Making her first start since March 30, Selcourt ran a huge race off the bench, leading every jump except the last one. A multiple graded stakes winner trained by John Sadler, she was the second choice in the betting at 3-2 and paid $3.20 and $2.10 while finishing 5 ¼ lengths clear of Anonymity.
Favored at 6-5, Anonymity paid $2.10 to show.
Fractions on the race were 21.44, 44.13 and 1:09.84.
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