Include Me Out
is set to defend her title Saturday in the $300,000
Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Stakes. Same daughter of Include only, at
five, a year older. Same 1-1/16-mile race, same Breeders’ Cup
Challenge series affiliation as a “Win and You’re In” automatic
qualifier for the $2 million Ladies’ Classic on Friday, November 1 at
But, as trainer Ron Ellis emphasizes, not the same situation.
“Last year she was coming off a race at Hollywood Park (Grade I
Vanity) that was a disappointment,” said Ellis, who conditions Include
Me Out for Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable. “She had a big lead in
the stretch, and we didn’t think there was any way she could lose but
unfortunately she thought her job was done and was passed near the wire.
“So the Clement Hirsch was a vindication race where she stamped
herself as the best filly on the West Coast. This year, the
circumstances are very different.”
Include Me Out followed the Hirsch with third-place finishes in the
Zenyatta at Santa Anita and the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, the
latter behind Eclipse Award winner Royal Delta and 2011 2-year-old
Juvenile Filly champion My Miss Aurelia.
“The second half of the year I had trouble keeping weight on her and I
knew she was getting a little tired, but she kept going and ran a great
race in the Breeders’ Cup,” Ellis said. “So we gave her a well-deserved
(seven-month) rest and we’re hoping to go into the Breeders’ Cup this
year with a fresher horse.”
Which brings us to the Clement L. Hirsch.
Include Me Out won the 6-furlong Desert Stormer Handicap in her 2013
debut on June 16 at Hollywood Park at odds of 4-1. It was somewhat
surprising, even to Ellis considering the layoff, some accomplished
competition and the fact that Include Me Out had no stakes victories at
Thoughts of a second race at Hollywood Park were soon set aside and the Hirsch became the focus.
“It’s a lot to ask the second time out off a layoff and first time
around two turns of the year,” Ellis said. “And I’m not sure that the
outside (No. 9) post is the place to be the way the track has been
playing. But she ran very well in the comeback from the layoff and she
worked well over the track (a bullet four furlongs in :46 4/5 on Monday
and Joe (Talamo) knows her well so he’ll do what he has to do.”