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ARCADIA, CA – Despite her name, trainer Phil D’Amato’s Ain’t Easy made it look exactly so as she passed her first two-turn test with a romping victory in Friday’s $200,000 Chandelier Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
The Chandelier is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” event, with Ain’t Easy receiving an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Del Mar this November.
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Ain’t Easy broke well from post 2 under Joel Rosario as the 7/2 second choice and settled into a ground-saving position in second heading into the clubhouse turn.
With Dance to the Music to her outside, Ain’t Easy sat behind Electric Ride through opening fractions of :23.56 and :47.99 before she rolled up through an opening between Electric Ride and the rail.
Taking command heading into the far turn, Ain’t Easy was still in hand at the top of the stretch as she widened her advantage with every step.
Rosario wrapped up Ain’t Easy at the 1/16 pole before she crossed 4 3/4 lengths clear while completing the 1 1/16-mile fast dirt route in 1:45.20.
“It was a very good trip,” Rosario said. “She broke really sharply. It was her first time going long and she did it really easily. You don’t know how good you are until you go with tough competition like this, and she did it the right way. She sat up a little bit at the rail and then finished very nicely. I feel very good about it.”
Electric Ride held on for second, 1 1/4 lengths clear of the winner’s stablemate Desert Dawn. Censorship, Grace Adler (the 4/5 favorite), Dance to the Music, and Elm Drive (D’Amato’s third entry) completed the order of finish in the race restricted to 2-year-old fillies.
Additionally, the Chandelier is part of the Road to the 2022 Kentucky Oaks prep race season that awards 10 points to the winner, 4 for second, 2 for third, and 1 for fourth. However, Churchill Downs Incorporated announced September 10 that points from any race earned in the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks” series will not be awarded to any horse trained by any individual who is suspended from racing in the 2022 Kentucky Oaks (G1) or any trainer directly or indirectly employed, supervised, or advised by a suspended trainer. This rule applies to Grace Adler and Censorship, both trained by Bob Baffert, who was suspended from the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks for 2 years following Medina Spirit’s confirmed drug violation.
Ain’t Easy’s win followed a maiden-breaking debut by 5 1/4 lengths while traveling 5 1/2 furlongs at Del Mar in a race that saw the third-place finisher win next out. The Into Mischief filly whose granddam is a half-sister to Grade 1-winning dirt router Cupid was purchased for $400,000 as a yearling and has now earned $162,000 in 2 starts for Old Bones Racing Stable, Michael Lombardi, and Joey Platts.
“She acted very professional, sitting behind horses,” said D’Amato, whose win was his first in this race. “When Joel wanted to, she came up the inside, which I like to see with a young horse. She just looked like she was having fun in the stretch. I think it set up perfect (for the Breeders’ Cup): a good two-turn experience, a confidence-booster, an easy win, where it didn’t look like she was taxed too much, so I like everything I saw right now.”
Ain’t Easy returned $9 to win, $4 to place, and $3.20 to show. Electric Ride brought back $7 to place and $4.80 to show. Desert Dawn paid $7.60 to show.
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