Favored Include Me Out nailed down her third consecutive graded victory this year after overcoming pacesetter Ellafitz narrowly in the $150,000 Marjorie L. Everett Handicap (gr. II) at Betfair Hollywood Park May 19 (VIDEO).
Ridden by Joe Talamo, for trainer Ron Ellis and Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable, the 4-year-old daughter of Include edged past Ellafitz in upper stretch and held on gamely in the final sixteenth while drifting. She won by three-quarters of a length and completed the 1 1/16-mile trip in 1:44.15 over the Cushion Track.
Include Me Out previously won the La Canada (gr. II) and Santa Margarita (gr. I) stakes at Santa Anita Park this season. She had not been out since her 3 3/4-length victory in the Santa Margarita March 17, however.
Six older fillies and mare contested the Marjorie L. Everett, which was renamed this year for the former longtime chairwoman, chief operating officer, and president of Hollywood Park who died in March. It was previously the Milady Handicap.
One contestant, Love Theway Youare, lost rider Alonso Quinonez after bobbling at the break.
Ellafitz, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, dueled with Include Me Out, on the inside, for the early lead before opening a one-length advantage. Ellafitz, winner of the Santa Maria Stakes (gr. II) in February, was able to dictate the tempo from there, leading Include Me Out by about 1 1/2 lengths. She got the opening quarter mile in :24.73, the half in :48.75, and six furlongs in 1:12.84.
Include Me Out bid for the lead rounding the final bend and put her head in front in upper stretch. She led by a length at mid-stretch but was drifting late as Ellafitz came on again in deep stretch. Include Me Out prevailed, however, under left-handed urging from Talamo.
“On paper it looked like it would go like that and it was perfect,’’ said Ellis after his third win in the Everett. “This filly hadn’t run in two months and she got the job done. She’s real push button and (Talamo) pushed her a little early to make Ellafitz get clear.
“We have a lot of confidence in our filly. Luckily, she can kind of sit where you need her to sit. She’s very professional and very smart. She wants to do her job, wants to win.’’
The win was the second in the race for Talamo; the first was with Nashoba’s Key in 2007. He echoed Ellis in his praise for Include Me Out.
“She’s just so smart, you can do whatever you want with her,’’ said Talamo. “If there was ever a case where there’s no speed, she could wire the field. If they go (the half mile) in 45 and change like they did in the La Canada, she can come from five or six out of it.’’
Ellafitz finished second by 1 1/2 lengths over Caelis, ridden by Kevin Krigger.
Zazu finished fourth, offering no stretch bid after stalking the early leaders. The 9-5 second choice and 121-pound high weight was making her first start since winning the Lady's Secret Stakes (gr. I) last fall. Suzettes Friend followed.
Bred in Kentucky by Brereton C. Jones, Include Me Out is out of the Mazel Trick mare Don't Trick Her. She sold for $150,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Kentucky yearling in July 2009.
The victory in the Everett was her fifth from nine lifetime starts and extended her earnings to $453,600.
Include Me Out carried 120 pounds and paid $4.60, $2.40, $2.20. Ellafitz,from the Bob Baffert barn, returned $3.20 and $2.60, and rounded out a $12.40 exacta. The Great Britain-bred Caelis paid $3.80 to show in her United States stakes debut for trainer Peter Miller.
Kayce Ace scratched.