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ARCADIA, CA — Heavily-favored Enola Gray went to the front in Saturday’s Grade 3, $100,000 Wilshire Stakes and took no prisoners, winning easily by 2 lengths.
Trained by Phil D’Amato and under first-time pilot Flavien Prat, the 4-year-old daughter of Grazen got a flat mile on turf in 1:33.03.
Breaking on terms with Juno, who drew the rail with Gary Stevens, Enola Gray easily out-footed her Brazilian-bred counterpart into the first turn. For all intents and purposes, the Wilshire was over at that point. Enola Gray opened up a 5-length advantage after the first 1/2-mile and bounded through the homestretch in a manner indicating that the field could have gone around the oval again with the result being the same.
“She was ultra-impressive today,” said D’Amato. “To set those kind of fractions (:22.36, :44.72, 1:08.73, and 1:20.79) and finish like she did… When she kicked in, I said, ‘Wow, maybe this is what she wanted to do all along,’ and he still couldn’t pull her up on the backside!
“(Regular rider) Tyler Baze has been asking me, ‘When are you gonna stretch her out?’ Tyler had to be at Monmouth Park today for more money, so we were lucky to get Flavien, and he gave her a great ride.”
Although a disappointing fifth as the 6-5 favorite in the Grade 2 Monrovia Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs down the hillside turf course on May 27, Enola Gray was hammered to even-money status for this contest.
“She’s just naturally fast,” said Prat. “The first part, she’s not that quick, but once I got to the first turn, she got her stride and started to pick up the bit. Finally, on the backside, she dropped it. I know she was going fast, but she was comfortable. She’s just talented.”
Out of breeder-owner Nick Alexander’s More Than Ready mare Unsung Hero, Enola Gray notched her first graded stakes victory and improved her overall mark to 11-7-2-1. With the winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $573,100.
Ridden by Joe Talamo, the Argentine-bred Madame Stripes tried to make a race of it the final 1/8-mile but had to settle for second, finishing 3 1/2 lengths in front of her stablemate Juno, who held third by a 1/2-length over Sheeza Milky Way. Prize Exhibit and Place des Vosges completed the order of finish.
Enola Gray returned $4, $3, and $2.40. Madame Stripes brought back $6 and $3.20, while Juno paid $3 to show.
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