Include Me Out won the 2012 Clement L. Hirch Stakes.

Include Me Out won the 2012 Clement L. Hirch Stakes.

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Rested Include Me Out Seeking Hirsch Repeat

Defending winner heads into Breeders' Cup Challenge race with one start this season.

Trainer Ron Ellis is taking a patient approach with Include Me Out as the 5-year-old mare prepares to defend her title in the $300,000 Clement L. Hirch Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 3 at Del Mar.

The 1 1/16-mile Polytrack event is a Breeders' Cup Challenge race for the $2 million Ladies' Classic (gr. I) Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park, which is the ultimate goal for Jay Em Ess Stable's daughter of Include . Ellis wants to make sure he's got a fresh competitor for this year's Ladies' Classic, where a rematch with two-time champion Royal Delta is possible after Include Me Out finished third in last year's renewal.

The dark bay has raced just once this season, winning the six-furlong Desert Stormer Handicap June 16 at Betfair Hollywood Park.

"She doesn’t have a lot of foundation underneath her, just the one sprint," Ellis said July 30. "I would say that she’s a touch vulnerable in this race, just because of (that). But, for me, she’s a stronger filly than last year and our real goal is the Breeders’ Cup and if she comes up a little short in this race it’s not the worst thing that can happen to her. But obviously we’re hoping to win it and move forward from there."

At this point last year, Include Me Out had already won the La Canada (gr. II), the Santa Margarita Invitational (gr. I), and the Marjorie L. Everett Handicap (gr. II), and finished second in the Vanity Handicap (gr. I). Following her neck victory over Star Billing in last year's Hirsch, she concluded the year with a pair of thirds in the Zenyatta Stakes (gr. I) and the Ladies' Classic, where she was 2 3/4 lengths behind Royal Delta.

"Last year after the Vanity I had a little bit of trouble with this filly keeping weight on her," Ellis noted. "She was just kind of a tired filly and I really give her a ton of credit for firing up the way she did throughout the year and she was just doing that all out of heart. But I knew that she really needed a rest so after the Breeders’ Cup we just decided, let’s just turn into half a year for her, give her her best chance at the Breeders’ Cup."

Include Me Out drew the far outside post in a field of nine older fillies and mares in the Hirsch, the eighth race on Del Mar's Saturday program with a 5:40 p.m. PDT scheduled post. Regular rider Joe Talamo will be aboard Include Me Out, who carries 121 pounds

It's a strong field, including Byrama, who won this year's Vanity, and grade II winners Lady of Fifty, More Chocolate, Great Hot, and Quiet Oasis.

Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners' British-bred Byrama is the 123-pound high weight for trainer Simon Callaghan off her 3 1/2-length tally in the Vanity June 15 at Hollywood. Saddled with the rail post and shortening up a quarter mile in the seven-furlong A Gleam Handicap (gr. II) a month later, the 4-year-old Byron filly ran out of time and finished third. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens retains the mount and they'll break from post 2.

Lady of Fifty has dropped four straight since her impressive 3 1/4-length triumph in the Bayakoa Handicap (gr. II) in December. She was third in the Vanity, her most recent start for Hall of Fame conditioner Jerry Hollendorfer, who owns the 4-year-old daughter of After Market in parternship with George Todaro. Lady of Fifty, one of three from the Hollendorfer barn in the Clement Hirsch, drew post 1 with Corey Nakatani.

Hollendorfer is also represented by Sister Kate and Via Villaggio, respective one-two finishers in the California Governor's Cup at Sacramento July 13.

More Chocolate, from the John Sadler barn for owner Michael Talla, was second in the Vanity last time out while no threat to Byrama. The 4-year-old Malibu Moon  filly won the La Canada at Santa Anita in January and finished second in the Santa Margarita behind easy winner Joyful Victory March 16.

Great Hot won the Santa Maria Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita Feb. 16 for trainer A.C. Avila and Coudelaria Jessica. The 5-year-old Brazilian-bred daughter of Orientate has been give a breather since a distant fourth-place finish in the Santa Margarita. Chantal Sutherland-Kruse picks up the mount.

Reddam Racing's Quiet Oasis, a two-time graded winner last year, has had just two starts this year for Ben Cecil. The 5-year-old Irish-bred is looking for a rebound after placing seventh in the Jenny Wiley Stakes (gr. IT) on turf at Keeneland April 13.

Trainer Wesley Ward invades from Kentucky with Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Sisterhood. The daughter of Kitten's Joy  has posted back-to-back thirds in the Doubledogdare (gr. III) at Keeneland and the Arlington Matron (gr. III) at Arlington Park. Both efforts were over Polytrack.

$300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I, Race 8, 5:40 p.m.), Fillies & Mares 3 & Up, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Lady of Fifty (KY), C S Nakatani, 119, J Hollendorfer
2. Byrama (GB), G L Stevens, 123, S Callaghan
3. Quiet Oasis (IRE), M Gutierrez, 119, B D Cecil
4. Sisterhood (KY), V Espinoza, 119, W A Ward
5. Via Villaggio (KY), M E Smith, 119, J Hollendorfer
6. More Chocolate (KY), R Bejarano, 121, J W Sadler
7. Sister Kate (CA), M A Pedroza, 119, J Hollendorfer
8. Great Hot (BRZ), C Sutherland-Kruse 121 A C Avila
9. Include Me Out (KY), J Talamo, 121, R W Ellis