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CHURCH CAMP GAINS FIRST STAKES WIN IN SUNDAY’S SANTA LUCIA
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 27, 2011) – Church Camp, a 4-year-old filly ridden by Corey Nakatani, achieved her first stakes victory on Sunday when scoring by 1 ¼ lengths over Burg Berg in Santa Anita’s 31st running of the $82,020 Santa Lucia Stakes for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.
After favored Briecat had overtaken pacesetter Jax El rounding the far turn, Church Camp gained the lead on the outside. She comfortably withstood the late rally by Burg Berg while Jax El resurged for the show, a half-length in front of Briecat. The final time was 1:42.39.
It was the second successive victory for Church Camp following a pair of runner-up efforts. Brian Koriner trains the daughter of Forest Camp for the Legacy Ranch, Judy Carmel and William Strauss.
“It worked out good,” Koriner said in the winner’s circle. “She was a little aggressive early, but it wasn’t too quick. It looked like she relaxed a little down the backside where she took back. She finally went into a nice stride.”
“I was trying not to move too soon because she was at such a high cruising speed,” said Nakatani. “When Martin (Pedroza) came running with Burg Berg, she got focused and went to running again.”
Third choice in a field of seven, Church Camp paid $14.60, $6 and $4.40. Burg Berg, ridden by Martin Pedroza, paid $6.40 and $4.80. Jax El, with Alonso Quinonez aboard, returned $5.60 to show.
While recording her fourth win in nine starts, Church Camp earned $47,220 which elevated her career total to $146,420.
Patrick Valenzuela, who rode 7-5 choice Briecat, had begun the day by building on a remarkable hot streak.
Valenzuela, who had won four races from six mounts on Saturday after winning the final race on Friday, reached the winner’s circle in Sunday’s first three races to give him eight victories from his last 10 mounts. The average win payoff of the eight victories was $9.40.
Following three dark days, Santa Anita resumes racing on Thursday with an eight-race program. First post is at 1 p.m.