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ARCADIA, CA – Owner/trainer Don Schnell’s Manitoba-bred Escape Clause resumed her winning ways in ultra-impressive fashion on Saturday, taking command at the top of the far turn before drawing off in the stretch to dominate the Grade 3, $100,000 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita.
Breaking from post 6 as the even-money favorite under Tyler Baze, Escape Clause sat in third early, just off of pacesetter Stradella Road through opening fractions of :23.02 and :46.25. Running clear in the three-path down the backstretch, Escape Clause ranged up alongside the second-place True Royalty as the pair made a run at the leader, but Escape Clause soon swept past them both with relative ease. Coming under a drive in the middle of the far turn, Escape Clause cut the corner and straightened for home with a blooming advantage that continued to grow with every step. Kept to task until the shadow of the wire, Escape Clause crossed with a 5 1/2-length advantage in a final time of 1:41.89 for the 8 1/2-furlong event over the wet fast (sealed) main track.
“She cut there around the turn like it was unbelievable, really,” Baze said. “Down the stretch, she was just galloping. I was hollering, ‘Come on, mama, keep running!’ She’s amazing.”
While undoubtedly no match for the winner, K P Wildcat proved much the best of the rest, taking second over Lemoona by 2 3/4 lengths. Stradella Road weakened late and was caught for third, missing it by just a 1/2-length. Bernina Star was further back in fifth, while True Royalty fell way behind by the time she hit the stretch and was pulled up and walked off prior to hitting the finish line. Exuberance was scratched.
Escape Clause’s victory was her first in a graded event and her first of any kind since taking the $75,000 Kathryn Crosby Stakes at Del Mar last November, which proved to be the last in her nine-race win streak in 2018. The 5-year-old daughter of Going Commando, purchased for $3,792 as a yearling by Schnell’s partner Barry Arnason, increased her career earnings to $423,500 to go with a record of 28-19-3-3.
“She was just built like a horse that was gonna grow up and hopefully be something,” Schnell said. “I know we bought other ones that hadn’t panned out, but this was one that just panned out, and she is a nice filly. I use to say any time I got a good horse I’d like to come to Santa Anita and win a race, and then I went years without having a good horse, and then all of a sudden, I get one and I’ve got an option, but I want to come to Santa Anita, I wanna come to Southern California, and I’m glad I did now.”
Escape Clause returned $4.20 to win, $2.80 to place, and $2.40 to show. K P Wildcat brought back $4.60 to place and $3.20 to show, while Lemoona paid $3.20 to show.
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