03/18/2012 6:43PM

Santa Anita: Canonize gives Ellis, Siegel a weekend stakes sweep in Santana Mile

Benoit & Associates
Canonize outduels Gladding to win Sunday's Santana Mile at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Trainer Ron Ellis and owner Samantha Siegel, who combined to win the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational on Saturday with Include Me Out, came back for an encore performance Sunday at Santa Anita when they sent out Canonize to capture the $71,800 Santana Mile for older males.

Canonize ($5.40), the favorite, had a compelling duel with Gladding down the stretch and prevailed by a half-length after that prolonged drive. It was another 8 1/4 lengths back to Honour the Deputy in third.

Tweebster, Worth Repeating, and Spud Spivens completed the order of finish.

Make Music for Me was a late scratch. While en route to the paddock, according to trainer Alexis Barba, he was spooked by the fierce winds that blew through here all afternoon and slipped and cut the outside of his left front leg. He had a laceration about three inches long, but the wound did not look serious. Regardless, he had to be scratched.

Canonize, ridden by Victor Espinoza, was timed in 1:33.89 over a track officially rated good, but which played fast all afternoon.

Canonize, 6, was making his first start around two turns after 12 sprints over nearly three years. Oft-injured, the gelding is just now fulfilling the promise Ellis believed he had.

“I never could put enough races together to stretch him out,” Ellis said. “He had a bad back. We had to take a chip out of an ankle. There’s no reason pedigree-wise why he couldn’t get a mile, and he relaxed.”

Canonize, a son of Aldebaran, also has blossomed since racing on dirt. He is 2 for 3 this meet. All his prior starts were either on a synthetic surface or turf. Canonize has now won five times in 13 starts. The Santana Mile was his first stakes win, but he was third in the Grade 3 Barrera at Hollywood Park in his third lifetime start in May 2009.

* East Sky's 29-1 upset of the eighth and final race on Sunday's card resulted in a $94,093 pick-six carryover heading into Thursday's card. It is the 20th pick-six carryover through 52 racing days at this year's winter-spring meet.