04/14/2013 4:09PM

Santa Anita: Sister Kate avoids early duel, captures Santa Lucia

Benoit & Associates
Corey Nakatani guides Sister Kate to her first career stakes victory in the Santa Lucia.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Sister Kate won her first stakes in Sunday’s $83,600 Santa Lucia Stakes at Santa Anita, benefiting from a strategic decision by jockey Corey Nakatani not to engage eventual runner-up Candrea in a speed duel.

Approaching the first turn of the race over 1 1/16 miles, Nakatani kept Sister Kate behind Candrea, who set an early pace of 23.22 and 47.22 seconds. Sister Kate ($18.40) trailed by a length on the backstretch, engaged the leader on the turn, and won by three-quarters of a length, in 1:45.22.

Sister Kate is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for breeder Mary Caldwell.

Jerry “said, ‘Come out running like you’ll have the lead,’ ” Nakatani said. “He said, ‘If someone wants it, let them have it.’ That’s what I did.”

Candrea finished 3 1/2 lengths in front of Sister Glady Oh La, who was followed by 3-5 favorite Maker or Breaker and Egg Drop in the race for fillies and mares who not win a stakes at a mile or longer  this year.

Sister Kate, a 5-year-old California-bred mare by Benchmark, has won 5 of 14 starts and $206,984. A sister to the Grade 1 winner and stallion Brother Derek, Sister Kate was third in the B. Thoughtful Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park last April. She could make her next start there in the $150,000 Marjorie Everett Stakes over 1 1/16 miles on May 18.