11/02/2011 12:25PM

Santa Anita: Ellis filly looks ready for bigger things


ARCADIA, Calif. − The lightly raced Include Me Out could be on the verge of a breakthrough in coming months for owner Samantha Siegel and trainer Ron Ellis.

Include Me Out starts in an optional claimer over six furlongs at Santa Anita on Friday, a race that could lead to a start in the Grade 1 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old female sprinters in late December.

“Include Me Out is improving all the time,” Ellis said last weekend. “She’s bred to run longer.”

Include Me Out has one win in three starts. After finishing fifth in a maiden race at Del Mar in August 2010, Include Me Out did not race for nearly a year, returning to win a maiden race at Del Mar in August. In her first start against winners, Include Me Out was second to the Ellis-trained Teddy’s Promise in an optional claimer over 6 1/2 furlongs here Oct. 10, closing well to lose by 1 3/4 lengths.

Ellis expected a big result from his starters that day and got it.

“Both of my fillies were doing well,” he said.

Friday, Include Me Out must beat Melissa Rose, who won a $40,000 claimer Oct. 21; Kindle, who won a maiden race in her debut at Golden Gate Fields in September; and True Way of Grace, who was second in the Beverly Lewis Stakes at Fairplex Park in September.

Include Me Out drew the outside post in a field of 14.

“I’m glad she has an outside post,” Siegel said. “She can stay out of trouble and do her thing. She’s a nice filly.”

Siegel was at Santa Anita on Sunday to watch her gelding Hope and Believe win a maiden race. The victory came less than a week after the death of her father, Mace, with whom Samantha operated their stable.

“I’ve had a good support system from friends and family,” Siegel said.

The optional claimer is the sixth of seven races Friday. First post time is 12:50 p.m., with live racing interspersed with simulcasts of the first day of the Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs. The last live race at Santa Anita is due off at 4:44 p.m.

There is a threat of rain on Friday. Three of the seven races are scheduled for turf, with the last, for maidens, on the hillside turf course.