Despite being drawn near the far outside in a field of 13, favored Lull, under Flavien Prat, managed to save ground going into the first turn and won as much the best as she prevailed by 3 ¼ lengths in Sunday's Grade III, $100,000 Autumn Miss Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Trained by New York-based Christophe Clement, Lull covered a flat mile over the Santa Anita turf in a rapid 1:32.66.
Breaking from post 10, Lull was able to sit second to pacesetter Almost Carla, who was sent from the far outside into the Club House turn. From there, Prat sat just off fractions of 22.35, 45.00, 1:08.58 and 1:20.54 prior to taking command three sixteenths of a mile from home.
“I didn't think we were going that quickly,” said Prat. “I wouldn't say that we were walking, but I didn't think we were going fast. I guess she has a lot of speed because I was just cruising around and trying to keep her relaxed.
“Down the backside she relaxed very well and I was just in a gallop. I thought we were at 45 (seconds, for the first half mile) and when I asked her to go, she responded well.”
Off as the 2-1 favorite, Lull, a Kentucky-bred filly by War Front, paid $6.40, $4.40 and $3.20.
Owned by her breeders, Claiborne Farm and Adele B. Dilschneider, Lull notched her first graded stakes win and her fourth overall from 11 starts. With the winner's share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $668,057.
“We didn't have a good draw, but Flavien managed to get a good position going into the first turn,” said longtime Clement assistant Christophe Lorieul. “We would have preferred to have her covered up, but she was second, so it was okay. The fractions were actually reasonable and she was able to overcome everything and prevail.”
In her first graded stakes engagement on grass, the Neil French-conditioned Chocolate Coated rallied from mid-pack to run second, a head in front of Storm the Hill.
Off at 11-1 with Gary Stevens, Chocolate Coated paid $9.00 and $6.80.
“The horse in front of me ducked in around the far turn and my filly followed her,” said Stevens. “It probably cost her about three lengths, but I'm pretty sure we were going to be second anyway. She fits with these horses.”
Trained by Peter Miller and ridden by Corey Nakatani, Storm the Hill rallied for third money and just held off a fast finishing Tapped by a neck late. Off at 8-1, Storm the Hill paid $5.00 to show.
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