Argentine-Bred Paga Takes Monrovia on Santa Anita Hillside

Paga made short work of her 12 rivals in Monday's $118,850 Monrovia Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Santa Anita Park, cruising to a 1 1/4-length victory as the 2-1 favorite in the race for fillies and mares down the hillside turf course at about 6 1/2 furlongs.

Owned by Dr. Edward C. Allred and R.D. Hubbard and trained by Richard Mandella, the 4-year-old Argentine-bred daughter of Montreal Marty got smooth sailing under Mike Smith, chasing the leaders in mid-pack, swinging four-wide at the head of the stretch, and winning comfortably. German-bred Twin Set was second with Impeachable coming from far back to get third.

Paga paid $6.60 for the win after completing the distance in 1:15.09 on firm turf under co-highweight of 117 pounds. Early fractions, set by longshot Fair Apache, were :21.81, :44.33, and 1:08.66.

The Monrovia was Paga's second win in three starts in the U.S. She won her American debut, the Osunitas Handicap at Del Mar, going wire to wire, then tired to be third in the Violet Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Meadowlands in September. Mandella said she has been sidelined since with quarter cracks. In Argentina, Paga won 4-of-6 starts, including three stakes, two of them group I. She is a full sister to Argentine group I winner El Realizado.

"You'll see a little more from her this coming year," Hubbard said after the Monrovia. "She's a good one." (Chart, Equibase)