01/08/2013 6:45PM

2012 Eclipse Awards: Include Me Out

photo by: Benoit & Associates

For a fleeting moment in 2012, the filly and mare world seemed to belong to Include Me Out.

Approaching the eighth pole in the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita, Include Me Out had victory in her sights. She had nearly drawn alongside front-running Royal Delta at that critical point, with nothing but clear sailing ahead of her.

“With that big move she made, she gave us an unbelievable thrill,” said Samantha Siegel, whose Jay Em Ess Stable owns Include Me Out.

Alas, Include Me Out faded a bit in the final furlong, finishing third behind Royal Delta and My Miss Aurelia while beaten less than three lengths for all the money. Still, it was a highly satisfying conclusion to a memorable 4-year-old season for a remarkably consistent and durable filly who emerged as the top handicap female on the Southern California circuit.

Trained by Ron Ellis, Include Me Out began 2012 with a 4 1/4-length romp in the Grade 2 La Canada on Jan. 22 at Santa Anita when stretching out from a fifth-place finish in the seven-furlong La Brea. She then won just as easily in the Grade 1 Santa Margarita nearly two months later, splashing home 3 3/4 lengths in front over a sloppy track.

Joe Talamo, who enjoyed his best season ever with more than $11.8 million in mount earnings, rode Include Me Out in every one of her 2012 races.

Ellis switched the filly to a synthetic surface for her next three races as she won the Grade 2 Marge Everett at Betfair Hollywood Park in May, ran second in the Grade 1 Vanity at Hollywood in June, and won the Grade 1 Clement Hirsch at Del Mar in August.

“She just tries her heart out when she knows she has to go get another horse,” Ellis said after the Clement Hirsch. “She kind of pulled herself up in the Vanity. Joe did a great job with her here.”

In prepping for the Breeders’ Cup, Include Me Out ran third in the Grade 1 Zenyatta at Santa Anita.

Siegel and Ellis were hoping for a peak effort in the Breeders’ Cup, and after she launched that threatening surge in upper stretch and earned a career-high 103 Beyer Speed Figure in that race, her connections were beaming, even in defeat.

“We couldn’t be much prouder,” Siegel said.

Include Me Out, a Kentucky-bred by Include out of Don’t Trick Me, by Mazel Trick, was purchased as a yearling in July 2009 by Siegel and her late father, Mace, at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky. She was bred by Brereton C. Jones, a longtime friend and business associate of the Siegels. In all, she won 4 of 7 starts while never worse than third in 2012 for earnings of $818,000. Her career totals stand at 6-3-2 from 13 starts and $911,600.

Include Me Out was given a break after the Breeders’ Cup and was due to return to the Ellis barn at Hollywood Park in mid-January. Siegel said she hopes to run the now 5-year-old mare in more dirt races this year, with a return to the Ladies’ Classic at Santa Anita being the ultimate goal.