Sea Jewel, fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), faces stakes winners Atlantic Ocean and Summer Wind Dancer in Sunday's $100,000-added Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park.
The Santa Ysabel, at 1 1/16 miles, is the first prep race for the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) March 8.
Although yet to win a stakes, Sea Jewel was competitive while racing against the nation's top 2-year-old fillies. In addition to the Breeders' Cup, the Kentucky-bred by Sea Hero was third in the Oak Leaf Stakes (gr. II) at Oak Tree, and fourth in the Del Mar Debutante (gr. I). She debuted with a four-length maiden win at Del Mar last July.
Pat Valenzuela rides Sea Jewel for trainer John Shirreffs and owners Jerry and Ann Moss.
Atlantic Ocean, trained by Bob Baffert for the Thoroughbred Corp., and Summer Wind Dancer are also contenders. Atlantic Ocean returns to dirt after winning the Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) on turf at Hollywood ParkSummer Wind Dancer comes off a third in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) after winning the California Cup Juvenile Fillies.
In a companion feature, the $100,000-added Sensational Star Handicap for California-breds, Spinelessjellyfish, with jockey Julie Krone, carries high weight of 119 pounds in the about 6-½ furlong downhill turf race.
Gibson County hasn't won since capturing the Answer Do Stakes on July 16, 2001. The 6-year-old son of In Excess is on a nine-racing losing streak, which Baffert hopes will come to an end in the Sensational Star.
"He's always been cut out to be a good horse, but he just has little problems, minor stuff, quarter cracks and stuff like that," Baffert said. "He's doing well (for the Sensational Star). There's no other spot to run him in, so we're going."
This will mark Gibson County's first start on the Santa Anita turf course. In 23 races, the bay horse has a 5-3-5 record, with earnings of $376,465 for owner Mike Pegram.$100,000-added Sensational Star Handicap (Cal Breds), 4 & up, about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf
PP. Horse, Rider, Weight
1. Spinelessjellyfish, Julie Krone, 119
2. Gibson County, David Flores, 113
3. Ride And Shine, Iggy Puglisi, 114
4. Sea To See, Pat Valenzuela, 115
5. Macward, Corey Nakatani, 117
6. Lennyfromalibu, Alex Solis. 112
7. Turkish Prize, Victor Espinoza, 118$100,000-added Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/16 mile
PP. Horse, Rider, Weight
1. Atlantic Ocean, David Flores, 120
2. Dash For Money, Victor Espinoza, 113
3. (a) Harbor Blues, Tyler Baze, 113
4. Artist's Studio, Julie Krone, 113
5. Summer Wind Dancer, Alex Solis, 120
6. Sea Jewel, Pat Valenzuela, 113
7. (a) Shapes And Shadows, Kent Desormeaux, 113
(a) Everest Stables Inc. entry.