Michael and David Day and Mary DiPietro’s Evo Campo earned the first graded stakes win of her career in Sunday’s G3 Santa Barbara Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The 5-year-old daughter of Approve laid just off the early pace, then rounded up the leader in the stretch to win going away by several lengths. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, the Paddy Gallagher trainee covered 1 1/2 miles over the firm turf in 2:27.70.
Responsibleforlove strode out strongly for the early lead, extending her advantage over the field through the first mile of the marathon to nearly eight lengths as she set quick fractions for the distance of :24.41, :48.28, and 1:12.63. Bejarano asked Evo Campo to rate in second position as he maintained an even pace off the leader through the majority of the race, though they eventually spread out a six-length gap back to Betty Draper traveling in third. Race-favorite Place des Vosges was at the rear of the field, then second last in the early going, but started to make her move around horses approaching the final turn.
The advantage Responsibleforlove had drawn out quickly disappeared as she turned around the three-eighths pole, and Evo Campo was able to close that gap convincingly. Place des Vosges was threatening from fourth turning for home, but she would flatten out in the lane.
At the top of the stretch Evo Campo passed the tiring leader and simply continued to draw away down the lane, crossing the wire nearly three lengths in front. Responsibleforlove continued to fight on gamely as Estrechada made her bid from the back of the pack, and the former just held second at the wire in a photo finish. Place des Vosges could only manage fourth.
Bred in Ireland by Richard O’Hara, Evo Campo was a $ 6,888 yearling purchase at Goffs. She broke her maiden at first asking overseas, but did not race again for six months when she appeared on the entries in the United States. The mare has improved with age, winning her first stake last summer to build toward this graded stakes victory. Overall, Evo Campo boasts a record of six wins from 13 starts, with earnings of over $ 230,000.
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