La Canada Stakes 2023: Kirstenbosch takes her 1st Graded win

Twenty-four hours later than scheduled, Kirstenbosch put her nose in the right place at the right time to make her stakes breakthrough in the rain-delayed G3 La Canada Stakes 2023, the main event at Santa Anita on Sunday.

La Canada Stakes

G3, $200,000, 1m 1/16 dirt, 4yo+ females

Close call for Kirstenbosch

A nose is always enough at the business end, and so it was for Kirstenbosch in La Canada at Santa Anita on Sunday, the 3-1 third-choice nailing the front-running favorite Ganadora right on the line to seal her first win at Graded level.

Smoothlikebuttah was last early but picked up the pieces late to grab third, two and three-quarter lengths back, while second-choice Under The Stars ran a dreadful race, walking over the line in fifth, and her racing career must now be in doubt after a second successive blowout.

It was easy to feel a little sympathy for Ganadora, who led pretty much everywhere but the place they take the photo, but she couldn’t withstand the powerful late rally from the John Sadler-trained Kirstenbosch. Her jockey Kazushi Kimura was gaining his first victory in California after moving his tack for the winter from Woodbine, where he was twice champion.

“I knew I’d have to push her along the whole way, she’s a one-pace horse,” said a delighted Kimura. “But she kept digging in, and it’s amazing to get this win.”

La Canada Stakes 2023 Results courtesy of JazzSports

1. Kirstenbosch8.603.802.60
2. Ganadora3.002.40
3. Smoothlikebuttah3.00

Winning time: 1m 44.19s

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