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Top Fortitude wins Lazaro Barrera at SA

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) - Top Fortitude won the $100,000 Lazaro Barrera Stakes for 3-year-olds by 1 1/2 lengths as a 30-1 shot at Santa Anita on Saturday.

Ridden by Kyla Stra, an Australian who earned her first North American stakes win, Top Fortitude ran seven furlongs in 1:22.98. The Arizona-bred paid $62.20, $17.80 and $9.

Puerto Rico-bred Tonito M. returned $8.40 and $6.40 in his U.S. debut, while Ferocious was another half-length back in third and paid $4 to show. Kobe's Back, the 3-5 favorite, broke slowly and finished fourth, beaten by 2 1/2 lengths.

Stra said she heard jockey Corey Nakatani aboard Kobe's Back utter an expletive when the starting gate opened.

''I knew he hadn't broken well,'' she said. ''I thought there would be two horses on the lead, maybe not the two that I thought, but it still helped in how it worked out. Everything went to plan.''

The victory, worth $60,000, increased Top Fortitude's career earnings to $87,250, with two wins in three starts. He is trained by R. Kory Owens, whose family owns and bred the 3-year-old colt.

''He's a tough horse,'' Stra said. ''He's just so solid, even the way he's built. I knew he would handle the dirt, it's just the dirt in his face that he doesn't like.''

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Mike Dempsey Mike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup.
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