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Stop Traffic Wins at Santa Anita

January 24, 1999

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Stop Traffic rallied in the closing strides to overtake Belle’s Flag by a length Saturday to win the $200,000 Santa Monica Handicap for fillies and mares at Santa Anita.

Ridden by Corey Black, Stop Traffic covered seven furlongs in 1:22 and paid $9.80, $4.20 and $4.60. Belle’s Flag and third-place finisher Closed Escrow, who ran as an entry, returned $3.40 and $3.20. Closed Escrow finished two lengths behind the winner.

``She really settled nicely today,″ Black said of Stop Traffic. ``When she gets in that mode, it was just a matter of if I get racing room. I got running room in time and that’s all she needed.″

The victory, worth $120,000, was Stop Traffic’s 11th in 27 starts and increased her career earnings to $725,395.

Seeking the Pearl, who has earned more than $3.4 million racing in Japan, made her North American debut, finishing in fourth place, four lengths behind the winner.

Belle’s Flag, the 9-5 favorite, took control of the lead on the last turn before being overtaken. Corey Nakatani, aboard Belle’s Flag, and Closed Escrow’s rider Gary Stevens both thought their horses had enough for the win.

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