J. Paul Reddam's Elloluv rallied from the outside with Watching You through the stretch, pulling away in the late stages to capture the $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Monday.
Coupled with the daughter of Gilded Time's win in Hollywood Park's Starlet (gr. I) on Dec. 14 over well-regarded Composure, Elloluv has come from virtually unknown to West Coast division leader in little more than a month.
Ridden by Pat Valenzuela, Elloluv was in stalking position on the outside down the backstretch, rallying wide on the turn of the seven-furlong event. She drew even between Watching You, who was closing on the outside, and pace-setting Himalayan on the inside as they came out of the turn. Elloluv took a short lead in the stretch and then drew off while drifting in slightly under strong urging. The final time for the Santa Ynez was 1:23.03.
Himalayan, breaking from the inside post in the tiny field of five, held the lead into the turn while racing off the rail through fractions of :22.41 for the quarter and 45.23 for the half-mile. Watching You, with Kent Desormeux riding, tracked Elloluv into the stretch as the winner made her move, but couldn't match strides, still finishing eight lengths clear in second.
Puxa Saco, the 6-5 favorite, dueled for the lead on the turn but faded to finish fourth.
"She drew away in the stretch pretty nice," said Valenzuela. "She was running relatively easy the whole way down the backside. When (Puxa Saco) got through on the rail I was a little concerned that she might shake away from us so I edged my filly up next to Corey (Nakatani) on Himalayan and the last quarter mile I just asked her and she took off. I was really happy with the way she finished."
Craig Dollase trains Elloluv after plucking the Kentucky-bred bay filly out of the Keeneland April sale of 2-year-olds in training for Reddam, the owner of Di-Tech, for $120,000. Elloluv had a maiden win in two career starts prior to her victory in the Starlet.
"That was awesome," said Dollase. "She proved she's the real deal. That Grade I (Hollywood Starlet) was no fluke, that's for sure, and it looks like she'll go on (a distance), absolutely."
Dollase said Elloluv would be pointed to the $200,000 Las Virgenes (gr. I) over one mile at Santa Anita Feb. 9.
With the $90,000 winner's purse for the Santa Ynez, Elloluv now has career earnings of more than $330,000.
Sent off at 8-5, Elloluv paid $5.60, $3.80 and $2.10. Watching You returned $3.80 and $2.80. Himalayan's show price was $3.20.