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New Mom Kayla Stra Just Misses in Return

Kayla Stra missed victory by a head in her first race as a new mother. The 28-year-old Australian native had an eventful trip to just miss winning Saturday’s third race aboard 44-1 shot Wild in the Saddle, losing to front-running 62-1 outsider J Louie, ridden by Tyler Baze.

For Stra (pronounced straw), it was her first ride since last May 20 at Betfair Hollywood Park. During that span, she took time off to give birth to a son on Nov. 15 fathered by trainer Gus Headley. The boy’s name is Brys (pronounced Breece) Baldwin Headley.

“I was hoping to win,” Stra said after the narrow defeat. “If I hadn’t been wide, I might have got there. It would have been great to win for the chaplain,” referring to trainer Francis Meza, wife of Eddie Meza, chaplain for the Race Track Chaplaincy of America.

Eddie is the brother of former jockey Rafael Meza. Francis and Eddie celebrated big time four races later when A Jealous Woman, trained by Francis, won the $75,000 Megahertz Stakes in a three-horse photo under Brice Blanc.

For Kayla, a win Saturday would have been additionally appropriate since her grandmother, Joan, is in Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach battling complications from recent cancer surgery on a kidney. Joan was 76 last Friday.

“I was hoping to win not only for the chaplain, but for my grandmother,” Stra said. “We’re saying our prayers.”

If hunch plays mean anything, the Man Upstairs should be on Kayla’s side Monday. She rides a horse for Gus in the third race named On Holy Ground.



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Older Comments about New Mom Kayla Stra Just Misses in Return...

Total bummer for Kayla. If it hadn't been for the loose horse, I say she gets there at the wire. Nice 60/1 winning ride by Tyler, no less!

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