Got Koko rallied from just off the pace to win Saturday's $200,000 La Canada Stakes (gr. II) by three-quarters of a length over favored Sightseek. Under Alex Solis, Got Koko completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.41 on a fast track to become the third horse to sweep the three-race La Canada series.
Sightseek set early fractions of :23.03 and :46.67 while pressed by 3-1 third choice Bella Bellucci. Solis kept Got Koko three wide and third, just ahead of Bare Necessities. Got Koko rallied determinedly in the stretch to notch the win.
"We never were more than a length or so behind the other two fillies and I knew she'd give me her best from the quarter-pole," said Solis. "She had to work today. We had to chase them instead of them chasing us."
Sightseek finished 1 1/2 lengths ahead of Bella Bellucci, with Bare Necessities fourth, and Revenante last of five.
Got Koko joins Taisez Vous and Mitterand as a winner of each leg of the La Canada series, the La Brea Stakes, the El Encino Stakes and the La Canada.
"It's quite a moment. I'm very proud and I really love this filly," said trainer Bruce Headley. "I never lost faith (that she could win), but I knew she was in a damn horse race with two great fillies like that and two great trainers like (Bobby) Frankel and (Neil) Drysdale. I knew it was going to be a duel in the sun and it really was. (But) Got Koko is Got Koko, so we're proud to make history. This is not quite (like winning) the Breeders' Cup (with Kona Gold in the 2000 Sprint), but it's pretty close. To set history at Santa Anita is really something special for my wife (Aase) and my family and my partners. We're all extremely happy."
Got Koko paid $6.20, $2.60 and $2.10 and led a $1 exacta worth $6.20. Sightseek returned $2.40 and $2.10. Bella Bellucci was worth $2.10 to show.
Got Koko (Signal Tap--Baby North, Northern Baby) earned $120,000 for the win, her sixth in 10 career starts. Her first stakes win came in the restricted Torrey Pines last September, when equipped with blinkers for the first time. The 4-year-old filly was bred in Texas by Eileen H. Hartis and is owned by Headley's wife Aase and Jerry Leung. (Chart, Equibase