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
“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.