Equibase Analysis: Never Be Enough Poised To Upset La Canada

Saturday’s running of the Grade 3, $100,000 La Canada Stakes at Santa Anita Park features a field of seven mares, most of which have made their mark in similar stakes recently. Leading the field in terms of career earnings is Hard Not to Love, who won the one-turn Grade 2 Santa Monica Stakes 11 months ago and who has three runner-up finishes in graded stakes since, most recently in the G2 Zenyatta Stakes last fall. Fighting Mad is a two-time G1 winner, having captured the Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita last May, as well as the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes last August at Del Mar, both at the distance of the La Canada.

Proud Emma just won the identical G3 Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos last month, with Message finishing second and Miss Stormy D fourth. Never Be Enough is the new face in the older female dirt division, running on conventional dirt for the first time after eight races on turf or all-weather following coming to the U.S. from Great Britain. Sanenus rounds out the field and also appears to fit with these off a runner-up effort in the G3 Chilukki Stakes in November.

Although she has never run a race on a conventional dirt surface, I believe Never Be Enough can run well enough to post the upset in this year’s La Canada Stakes. This hard knocking mare leads the field by far in races run in her career (29), having won seven and finishing second in five others, including a four for 10 record in 2020. Shipping from trainer Manuel Badilla’s Golden Gate Fields base last fall, Never Be Enough (GB) won the Kathryn Crosby Stakes (111 Equibase Speed Figure) on the turf at Del Mar then two races later was closing strongly late and ended up second in the Robert J. Frankel Stakes, ending up beaten just three-quarters of a length at the end by Mucho Unusual (a grade 1 stakes winner). That 111 figure matches up perfectly with the 112 figures Fighting Mad earned winning the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes and with the 112 figure Hard Not to Love earned when second in the Santa Maria Stakes. As such, if Never Be Enough can transfer her form to the main track, she has every right to run well enough to win this race

Fighting Mad hasn’t been seen since finishing third as the prohibitive favorite in the Zenyatta Stakes last September, a disappointing effort which led to her skipping the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and taking time off to prepare for her five year old campaign. Prior to that, Fighting Mad led from start to finish and dominated against short five and six horse fields in the Santa Maria Stakes (117 figure) and Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (112 figure). In the La Canada, I expect Fighting Mad to secure the lead at the start and try to control the pace to the finish, which is certainly possible. However, horses like Message, Sanenus and Miss Stormy D may also want the lead or to be very close to the front, which may see Fighting Mad run more like she did in the Zenyatta when passed late in the stretch.

Proud Emma just won the identical Bayakoa Stakes at Los Alamitos with a 104 figure and three races before that won the Tranquility Lake Stakes with a 105 figure. In both races, Proud Emma closed from off the pace so in the La Canada she has a chance to save ground from the rail and close into the pacesetter in the stretch although she would need to improve to get to the 112 figure level it appears the winner of this race will need to earn to win.

Hard Not to Love is certainly a contender but I don’t think she can win the La Canada. In three of her four races around two turns she managed second place, but all were in short fields of six or less. The best of those earned a 112 figure when second in the Santa Maria. However, Fighting Mad won that race after leading from the start and that’s a more likely scenario in my opinion than Hard Not to Love turning the tables on her foe.

The rest of the La Canada Stakes field, with their best Equibase Speed Figures, is Message (105), Miss Stormy D (111) and Sanenus (97).

Win Contenders, in preference order:
Never Be Enough (GB)
Fighting Mad
Proud Emma

La Canada Stakes – Grade 3
Race 8 at Santa Anita
Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021 – Post Time 6:30 PM E.T.
One Mile and One Sixteenth
Fillies and Mares, Four Years Old and Upward
Purse: $100,000

The post Equibase Analysis: Never Be Enough Poised To Upset La Canada appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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