Coniah wins the Las Cienegas Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Coniah wins the Las Cienegas Stakes at Santa Anita Park

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Coniah Breaks Through for Morey in Las Cienegas

California-bred mare earned the first graded stakes win for herself and her trainer.

Trainer William Morey didn't even need to sweat out his first graded win Jan. 20 in the $100,000 Las Cienegas Stakes (G3T) at Santa Anita Park.

From the moment James and Tammy McKenney's homebred Coniah put her nose in front halfway down Santa Anita's hillside turf course to when she hit the wire, there was little challenge from any of the horses behind her, and the 5-year-old Harlington mare cruised to the line to win by 1 3/4 lengths.

"I was very confident today," Morey said. "I thought she looked great out there and I had (jockey) Kent (Desormeaux) in charge, so I wasn't looking at the fractions. When they turned for home, I knew they had to do some running to catch her. It took me almost 1,600 wins to get my first graded win. ... It feels pretty good."

Proper Discretion took the early lead from post 5, but by the time they ran the first quarter in :21.78, Coniah already had a head in front. Through a half in :43.89, the California-bred opened up a two-length lead and pushed it to three lengths with a furlong to run. Grade 3 winner Bendable, in her first start on grass, was the only challenger to make up ground late, but was never a serious threat and finished second, a length ahead of longshot Princess Princess. Coniah finished off the about 6 1/2-furlong race in 1:12.17.

"She was awesome today," Desormeaux said. "She was very comfortable. I've seen her develop and she was a consummate pro today."

Although she placed in two graded stakes in 2016, Coniah began to knock at the graded door more forcefully in 2017, when she came up just a half-length short against grade 1 winner Illuminant in the Monrovia Stakes (G2T) in May and came in second to Bendable on the dirt in the Desert Stormer Stakes (G3) in June.

Out of the Lord At War (ARG) mare Pretti Woman, Coniah now has a 4-5-3 record from 20 starts and $295,365 in earnings.

Behind Princess Princess came Beau Recall, Instant Reflex, Anita Partner, and Proper Discretion, to complete the order of finish.

Video: Las Cienegas S. (G3T)