(Photos Courtesy of Los Alamitos)

From the Los Alamitos Media Team:

Returning to dirt and getting the waiting ride she prefers, Proud Emma rallied to defeat Message and four others fillies and mares in the G3, $100,0000 Bayakoa Stakes Sunday at Los Alamitos.

Ridden by Juan Hernandez – substituting for the sidelined Hall of Famer Mike Smith – for trainer Peter Miller and owners Gem, Inc. and Tom Kagele, Proud Emma was reserved early off the pace set by Miss Stormy D and Stellar Sound, rallied outside and outfinished Message in the final sixteenth to prevail by a half-length.

The win was the sixth in 16 starts for the daughter of Include and the Proud Citizen mare Debutante Dreamer. Her first success in a graded stakes increased her earnings to $304,658.

The 9-2 fourth choice in the field of six, Proud Emma paid $11.20, $3.80 and $2.40 while completing the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.40. Message returned $4 and $2.40 while finishing six lengths clear of Stellar Sound, who rushed to battle for the lead and opened up two lengths after a half mile despite breaking last. The show price on Stellar Sound, the 13-10 choice, was $2.20. Miss Stormy D, Blue Diva and Donut Girl completed the order of finish.

“She ran great,’’ said Kagele. “We’ve been trying to get a graded stakes with her and she finally did it for us today. She likes to sit off it and it set up very nicely for her. We were confident she would come running. She shows up everytime, but this was awesome. We plan to keep her in training in 2021.’’

This was Hernandez’s first collaboration with Proud Emma, whose most recent win came when she finished in a dead heat with Message in the Tranquility Lake Aug. 28 at Del Mar.

“(Miller) told me to just sit behind the speed and she’d give me a strong run. She relaxed perfectly, then really responded when I asked her to get by (Message).’’

Racing resumes Thursday at Los Alamitos. Post time is 1 p.m.