Laffit Pincay Jr. closed out the year in style Tuesday with three winning rides at Santa Anita, including the $114,700 Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT) on Lil Sister Stich. Two days after turning 56 on Sunday, Pincay increased his all-time record total to 9,483 victories, including a leading 2,812 at Santa Anita. Pincay guided Lil Sister Stich from off the pace for a head victory over Pina Colada in the race for fillies and mares. The winner ran about 6 ½ furlongs on firm turf in 1:13.81 under 117 pounds and paid $17, $8 and $5.80. Doug O'Neill is the trainer for owners Howard, Kilger and Koser. Pina Colada, with Goncalino Almeida riding at 115 pounds, finished second and returned $13.80 and $7.60. It was 1 ½ lengths back to I'm The Business, with Corey Nakatani up at 116 pounds, paying $5 to show. Rolly Polly, the 11-10 favorite, was seventh. Adoration finished ninth.A 5-year-old California-bred by Seattle Bound, Lil Sister Stich is unbeaten in four starts on the Santa Anita turf course. She's 8 for 18 in her career with a pair of seconds and one third. The $68,620 winner's share increased her bankroll to $329,835. The stewards conducted an inquiry into the stretch run, but made no change in the order of finish. Pincay said he was content to let Lil Sister Stich stalk the early pace set by Repository and Onslaught. The two leaders dueled through a half-mile in :43.79 seconds. Lil Sister Stich was in fourth place, some five lengths behind.
"I just sat with her and was very happy with my position," Pincay said. "I was laying fourth and she wasn't rank or anything. She handled the turf very nice, and I knew she'd fire at the end." Pincay said Lil Sister Stich had a minor problem crossing the dirt at the head of the stretch. The mare drifted out and made slight contact with I'm The Business. "I didn't even realize that we brushed," Pincay said. "She got a little spooked going across the dirt and tended to get out, but I never thought she came way out or bumped any horse." He got the day started with a win on Bluesthestandard ($3.80) in the fourth race, and scored in the sixth aboard long shot I Gotcha Covered ($23.40). (Chart, Equibase)