Evo Campo wins the 2017 Santa Barbara Stakes

Evo Campo wins the 2017 Santa Barbara Stakes

BENOIT PHOTO

Evo Campo Scores Santa Barbara Victory

Mare's two stakes wins have both been at 1 1/2 miles on the Santa Anita turf.

David Day, Michael Day, and Mary DiPietro's Evo Campo appears to have found her niche going long on the Santa Anita Park grass.

Entering the $100,000 Santa Barbara Stakes (G3T) April 30 at Santa Anita, the 5-year-old Approve mare's only stakes win came at the Santa Barbara distance of 1 1/2 miles.

That victory came in June of 2016, her last start of the year, in the Possibly Perfect Stakes at Santa Anita, but she got a race under her belt when she finished fifth March 12 in the Santa Ana (G2T) and struck again to win by 2 1/4 lengths in the Santa Barbara.

The Patrick Gallagher-trained mare got the perfect trip in the marathon grass race, heading the second flight of runners behind run-off leader Responsibleforlove.

"I didn't expect (Responsibleforlove) to be on the lead, but it was good for me to follow that horse," said winning jockey Rafael Bejarano. "I tried to get my horse to relax. (She) always tries hard."

Responsibleforlove led by a length through a quarter in :24.41, opened up three lengths through a half in :48.28, hit six furlongs in 1:12.63, and had an eight-length advantage through a mile in 1:37.59. But with a quarter-mile to run, the lead dwindled to 2 1/2 lengths and Evo Campo took command soon after. Responsibleforlove, off at 17-1, held for second over closing 5-2 second choice Estrechada.

Evo Campo finished off the 1 1/2 miles in 2:27.70.

"It set up great," Gallagher said. "We got the best of it. The farther they went, the better it was for us. The rest of them were stacked up and we were free-running. It worked out great."

Place des Vosges closed from last in the eight-horse field to finish fourth, followed by Dressed to a T, Betty Draper, Hiking, and Mrs. Norris, to complete the order of finish.

Bred in Ireland by Richard O'Hara, out of the Mister Baileys mare Billie Bailey, Evo Campo now has a 6-1-2 record from 13 starts and $234,121 in earnings.