02/13/2011 9:10PM

Santa Anita: It went her way - again


Always a Princess ($4.40) led throughout Sunday's Grade 2 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita, turning a slow pace into her second consecutive stakes win.

With only three rivals in the Grade 2 race for 4-year-old fillies over 1 1-8 miles, Always a Princess did not face a serious challenge in the La Canada. Ridden by Martin Garcia, she set a slow pace of 24.67 and 48.66 seconds, led by as much as 1 1-2 lengths on the backstretch and pulled clear through the stretch to win by 3 1-4 lengths over Blind Luck, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2010.

Those filllies were the first two finishers in the Grade 2 El Encino Stakes over 1 1-16 miles. Blind Luck has been second in four consecutive stakes, including the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic at Churchill Downs in November.

Always a Princess and Blind Luck could return in the $300,000 Santa Margarita Invitational Stakes over 1 1-8 miles on March 12, a race considered the division championship for older fillies and mares. Trainer Bob Baffert mentioned the Grade 1 Santa Margarita as a goal for Always a Princess. Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer declined to comment after the race on Blind Luck's performance, leaving his plans for her unclear.

Regardless of where Blind Luck appears, the Santa Margarita will be a tough race. Switch, the winner of two seven-furlong Grade 1 races at this meeting - the La Brea and Santa Monica Stakes - is expected to start, along with the first and third-place finishes of Saturday's Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes - Vision in Gold and St Trinians.