INGLEWOOD, Calif. (May 19, 2012)—Include Me Out remained perfect around two turns, winning the $150,000 Marjorie L. Everett Handicap (video) Saturday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
The three-quarters of a length victory as the 13-10 favorite was the third in a row – all in graded races – for the 4-year-old daughter of Include and the Mazel Trick mare Don’t Trick Me.
Trained by Ron Ellis for owner Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable, Include Me Out stalked the soft pace outside of 2-1 third choice Ellafitz for most of the journey, gained the lead early in the stretch and held sway under left handed urging from jockey Joe Talamo.
The final time for the 1 1/16 miles over Cushion Track was 1:44.15. In winning the Grade II, which followed victories in the Grade II La Canada and Grade I Santa Margarita earlier in the year at Santa Anita, Include Me Out paid $4.60, $2.40 and $2.20.
Bred in Kentucky by Brereton C. Jones, Include Me Out has won five of nine. She increased her earnings to $453,600. The win was her first at Betfair Hollywood Park. The dark bay had finished second behind stablemate – and eventual Grade I winner – Teddy’s Promise in her Cushion Track debut last Nov. 25.
“On paper it looked like it would go like that and it was perfect,’’ said Ellis after his third win in the Everett, which, prior to this year, had been called the Milady Handicap. “This filly hadn’t run in two months and she got the job done. She’s real push button and (Talamo) pushed her a little early to make Ellafitz get clear.
“We have a lot of confidence in our filly. Luckily, she can kind of sit where you need her to sit. She’s very professional and very smart. She wants to do her job, wants to win.’’
Ellis, whose earlier Everett wins came with Twice The Vice (1996) and I’Aint Bluffing – for Jay Em Ess – in 1998, indicated Include Me Out will return in the Grade I, $250,000 Vanity Handicap June 16.
The win was the second in the race for Talamo – the first was with Nashoba’s Key in 2007 – and he echoed Ellis in his praise for Include Me Out.
“She’s just so smart, you can do whatever you want with her,’’ said Talamo. “If there was ever a case where there’s no speed, she could wire the field. If they go (the half mile) in 45 and change like they did in the La Canada, she can come from five or six out of it.’’
Ellafitz, who had won the Grade II Bayakoa Handicap in her most recent local start last Dec. 4, paid $3.20 and $2.60. Caelis, a 22-1 shot, was third, 1 ½ lengths behind Ellafitz. Her show price was $3.80.
Making her first start of 2012, Zazu, the 9-5 second choice, was fourth. Idle since capturing the Grade I Lady’s Secret last Oct. 1, the gray daughter of Tapit was positioned close to the leaders while saving ground early, but couldn’t match strides in the final furlong. She wound up 3 ½ lengths back of the winner.
Suzettes Friend and Love Thewayyouare completed the order of finish. The latter unseated jockey Alonso Quinonez after bobbling at the start. Both horse and rider escaped injury. Kayce Ace was scratched.
In the day’s other graded race, the scratch of 7-5 second choice Killer Graces – a three time stakes winner over Betfair Hollywood Park’s Cushion Track – didn’t prevent Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer from winning the $98,000 Railbird Stakes (video) for the first time Saturday.
Via Villaggio, the 10-1 second choice in a field of four 3-year-old fillies, surprised 1-20 favorite Sister Moon to win the Grade III by a half-length.
Owned by Steve Beneto, who was appointed to the California Horse Racing Board by Gov. Jerry Brown two days earlier, the Bernardini filly out of the Alhaarth mare Hoh Buzzard won for the third time in 10 starts.
This was the first graded appearance for Via Villaggio over a synthetic surface and she responded to an aggressive ride by jockey Martin Pedroza.
Pedroza and the Kentucky bred challenged pacesetter Sister Moon, who was racing well off the rail due to her own drifting tendencies, along the inside around the far turn, then prevailed after a stretch long battle.
Completing the distance in 1:23.03, Via Villaggio returned $23 and $3. The $60,000 payday increased her earnings to $121,070. This was her first victory outside Northern California. Her two prior wins came over the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate Fields.
“It was a beautiful trip,’’ said Pedroza, who was also winning the Railbird for the first time. “When I saw that filly (Sister Moon) getting out, I thought maybe (Gomez) was just setting me up to get in there, but I could see she kept drifting out.
“I didn’t want to take any chances on getting stopped, so I got up inside when I could. It was better to take a chance and move a little early rather than having to check and lose my momentum.’’
Seeking her third win in five starts in her initial graded appearance, Sister Moon paid $2.10. The daughter of Dixie Union attracted $253,521 of the $271,073 wagered to place. There was no show wagering.
“I can only ride them if they go straight,’’ said Gomez. “From the time I left the gate she wanted to drift with me. I couldn’t get her any closer to the fence.
“Turning for home, I let her go to the middle of the race track, thinking that maybe she’d run. She didn’t run horrible, just not the way she was expected.’’
Hollendorfer, who said he scratched Killer Graces “because he had a little problem with her,’’ added Via Villaggio could return in the Grade II, $150,000 Hollywood Oaks June 23.
Dijarvo finished third, 4 ½ lengths behind Sister Moon while Lady Fairbanks trailed throughout.
Racing resumes Sunday. Post time is 1 p.m. Track gates will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
The feature attraction – the $70,000 Fran’s Valentine Stakes – is the eighth of nine races.
The one mile turf affair is for California bred fillies and mares. Halo Dolly is the 8-5 morning line favorite.
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