Team Sadler has been pointing More Chocolate to Sunday’s Grade II La
Canada Stakes for some time. After leading into the stretch before
finishing third in the mile and one eighth (turf) Grade III Robert J.
Frankel Stakes on Dec. 30, More Chocolate appears set for a top effort
on the main track in the mile and a sixteenth La Canada, which is
restricted to 4-year-old fillies.
“She may have been a little fresh down the backside,” said
trainer John Sadler’s top assistant, Larry Benavidez, speaking of the
Frankel, “but she was ready to run, and all along John has targeted this
race from the day she won pretty impressively in November.”
Benavidez was referring to More Chocolate’s 3 ¼-length triumph
in a nine-furlong allowance race on turf last Nov. 1. “John wanted to
try her against straight 4-year-olds, and she lost arguably to the best
older turf filly in the country (in Qaraaba, who won the Frankel), so
that was a very good race,” Benavidez said.
The La Canada field: Open Water, Corey Nakatani, 10-1; Lady of
Fifty, Martin Garcia, 6-5; Book Review, Rafael Bejarano, 7-5; Willa B
Awesome, Martin Pedroza, 8-1; Ubelongtomemissy, Joe Talamo, 15-1; and
More Chocolate, Garrett Gomez, 9-2.