03/17/2012 7:16PM

Santa Anita: Patience pays off with Include Me Out in Santa Margarita

Benoiy Photo
Include Me Out was not bothered by the sloppy conditions of the Santa Margarita.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Even though Include Me Out was coming off the biggest race of her career in the La Canada Stakes on Jan. 22, trainer Ron Ellis and owner Samantha Siegel resisted the temptation to come back a month later, believing their best shot of winning the Grade 1 Santa Margarita Invitational on Saturday at Santa Anita was to come into it fresh.

The plan could not have worked out any better.

Include Me Out ($4.60) seized control of the $294,000 Santa Margarita passing the three-furlong pole, immediately opened a commanding lead, and cruised home 3 3/4 lengths best in the championship race of the meet for older fillies and mares.

Love Theway Youare rallied for second, 3 1/4 lengths in front of Miss Mittagong, who outfinished odds-on favorite Ellafitz by a head for third.

Racing over a sloppy, sealed track, Include Me Out covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.62.

Only four started in the Santa Margarita. Both Awesomemundo and Kayce Ace were scratched because of the off track. That left Ellafitz favored at 4-5, with Include Me Out the close second choice at 6-5.

Ellafitz looked like the controlling speed in the race, but Include Me Out stayed in close pursuit for the first six furlongs of the race, just behind and to the outside of Ellafitz through six furlongs in 1:10.62. As the field went around the far turn, Joe Talamo, aboard Include Me Out, had a horse ready to fire.

“She handled it well, and I was loaded the whole way,” Talamo said.

Include Me Out has now won four times in eight starts. Notably, she is 2 for 2 since being stretched out around two turns.

“I had a lot of confidence in the filly,” Ellis said. “She’s improving by leaps and bounds.”

Ellis said it was Siegel who first broached the idea of not racing in February to point for the Santa Margarita, a decision he heartily endorsed.

“We gave her a little vacation to point for a Grade 1,” Siegel said.