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Rumor Has It in L.A. Woman Stakes

The inaugural running of Santa Anita’s $100,000 L.A. Woman Stakes stirred speculation and resulted in a major upset, as Rumor, a Kentucky-bred filly by Indian Charlie, prevailed by a hard fought half-length under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith while 3-5 favorite Winding Way and Rafael Bejarano finished a well beaten last in the field of four fillies and mares age three and up going 6 ½ furlongs.

The win could have Breeders’ Cup implications, according to Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.

“The Breeders’ Cup (Filly and Mare Sprint, on Nov. 3) is a possibility, but with her, you never know which day works,” said Mandella. “Sometimes she’s there, sometimes she isn’t, so we’ll see how she comes out of this.”

Rumor, who had a 4-2-1-0 record at Santa Anita, was a solid third, beaten 1 ¼ lengths by the favorite in her most recent start, the Grade III Rancho Bernardo Handicap at Del Mar on Aug. 19, with Garrett Gomez aboard.

“She ran dynamite,” said Smith. “Richard said just to let her run her race. He wanted me to break and see what she decides, then go from there. She broke really kind and I saw the favorite was going to ease back so I went ahead and moved her up so I could keep the favorite inside of me…I’ve seen Garrett win some good ones on her. She always comes back and fights, so I knew she would at least give me something to fight with and she did.”

Rumor and Smith pressed 14-1 longshot Lady of Fifty and Martin Garcia through fractions of 22.47, 46.08, 1:10.95. Rumor withstood a serious challenge late from 10-1 shot Great Hot and Alonso Quinonez, getting the distance in 1:17.47.

Due to the short field, there was no show wagering on the L.A. Woman. Rumor, off at 5-2, paid $7.20 and $5.40.

Owned by Ramona Bass, Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider, Rumor picked up $60,000 in winning the L.A. Woman, which padded her bankroll to $294,188, from a career mark of 11-5-4-1.

Great Hot paid a hefty $16.00 to place.

Bejarano, who had ridden favored Winding Way to three consecutive victories, had no excuses for her 7 ¾-length defeat.

“She just didn’t fire today,” said Southern California’s marquee jockey.



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