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Only Three Tackle Winding Way on Sunday

Winding Way’s victory in the Rancho Bernardo Handicap had to be seen to be believed. She hopped at the start and appeared hopelessly beaten in the 6 ½-furlong race, but closed furiously under Rafael Bejarano to win by a half-length. You only see horses run like that in a Marx Brothers movie.

Winding Way returns Sunday at Santa Anita in the inaugural running of the $100,000 L.A. Woman, a 6 ½-furlong test for fillies and mares age 3 and up.

Trainer Carla Gaines will take another winning effort, of course, but hopefully without the trepidation Winding Way wrought in the Rancho Bernardo.

“I had so much confidence in her, initially I thought, ‘Oh, they’re probably going to go so fast early that maybe she can catch them’,” Gaines said, reflecting on the Rancho Bernardo. “I was hoping they might go in 21 and change or 22 flat (for the first quarter). They went 22 and change and I then I thought, ‘Well, I hope I hit the board.’ So it was pretty amazing.”

Winding Way won her first two starts by wide margins, leading throughout. Then came the Rancho Bernardo at Del Mar on Aug. 19.

“Honestly, I’ve never really worried about her rating,” Gaines said. “She’s always rated beautifully in the mornings. In her previous races, she’s always been the fastest. She’s not a rank horse on the lead. Her last race was phenomenal. Let’s hope she repeats it.”

The field for the L.A. Woman: Rumor, Mike Smith, 8-5; Winding Way, Rafael Bejarano, 2-5; Great Hot, Alonso Quinonez, 8-1; and Lady of Fifty, Martin Garcia, 15-1.



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