Thegirlinthatsong pounced on pacesetter Jojo Warrior a quarter mile from home and went on to win Saturday's Grade II, $200,000 La Canada Stakes by 4 ¼ lengths under Rafael Bejarano as even money favorite Lexie Lou got up for second. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Thegirlinthatsong bested a half dozen other 4-year-old fillies and covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.84.
Idle since running second in the Zia Park Oaks on Nov. 26, the 4-year-old Texas-bred daughter of My Golden Song tried Santa Anita's main track for the first time and registered her fifth win from 19 overall starts. Second behind 8-5 second choice Jojo Warrior through splits of 23.63, 47.13 and 1:11.66, Thegirlinthatsong got the mile in 1:36.99 en route to her biggest career win.
“She's been training well here and we were looking for a good effort from her,” said Hollendorfer. “I think Rafael wanted to stay back a little more than what I wanted him to. I asked him to stay as close as he could and be comfortable, so he did that, and that ended up working out well.”
Off at 6-1, Thegirlinthatsong paid $15.00, $4.20 and $2.60. Owned by Gatto, Hollendorfer, and Tim and Peter Russo, she picked up $120,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $407,695.
“I thought Lexie Lou and Jojo Warrior would go to the lead so I expected to put my horse right behind Jojo Warrior after the break,” said Bejarano. “When we broke, my horse was real fresh…I just put us right behind and I had a beautiful trip. By the three eighths pole, I still felt I had a lot of horse and when I let her go in the stretch, she took off.”
Ridden by Corey Nakatani, Lexie Lou, who came off a second place finish to likely Horse of the Year California Chrome in the Grade I Hollywood Derby at Del Mar, was just up for the place by a head over Jojo Warrior while never threatening for the win. She paid $2.80 and $2.20.
“Not bad for her first time on dirt, not bad at all,” said Nakatani. “When Jojo Warrior kind of crossed over (going into the first turn) she got a little dirt in her face and she started to jump a little. I lost our position but for her first time on dirt, she showed her heart and she ran a big race. The farther the better with her.”
Jojo Warrior, who was ridden by Martin Garcia and appeared to be running easily on the lead, finished 5 ¾ lengths clear of longshot Une Cherise and paid $2.60 to show.
There is a Pick Six carryover into Sunday at Santa Anita of $104,326 and it's expected Sunday's total pool should exceed $500,000. First post time is at 12:30 p.m., admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.
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