Six 3-year-old fillies shoot for their initial graded stakes win in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita Jan. 10.
The lightly raced field will go 1 1/16 miles in the Santa Ysabel. It includes one stakes winner, Evening Jewel, and a second filly, Augustin Stable's Zilva, whose last start came in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
Zilva finished seventh at odds of 25-1 in that race, her first over Santa Anita's Pro-Ride surface, but lost by only 2 1/2 lengths to the victorious She Be Wild. Trained by Graham Motion, the Pennsylvania homebred daughter of Successful Appeal ran fourth in the Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) prior to the Breeders' Cup.
Rafael Bejarano takes over for Jeremy Rose aboard Zilva, a closer who drew the rail in the small field. The bay filly broke her maiden by a neck at the Santa Ysabel distance at Saratoga Sept. 2 in her third start. That is her lone win in five races.
Evening Jewel already has a stakes win at the meet after taking the filly division of the 1 1/16-mile California Breeders’ Champion Stakes for state breds Dec. 27.
“It’s a little quick back,” trainer Jim Cassidy said, “but she’s shown she can get the distance.”
The daughter of Northern Afleet broke her maiden at Santa Anita during the Oak Tree meet in November and has won two of three starts with one second over the Pro-Ride. First or second in her last four starts, Evening Jewel will be ridden by Victor Espinoza, who was aboard her for the first time in the stakes victory.
The bay filly is owned by the Braly Family Trust and will carry high weight of 122 pounds. She figures to be on or near the lead.
A second California bred could have a say in the outcome as well. Whispering Hush, trained by Eric Kruljac for Tyler and Wayne Seltzer, had a rough trip when well-backed in a fifth-place effort in the one-mile Miesque Stakes (gr. IIIT) on the turf at Hollywood Park Nov. 29. The El Corredor filly broke slowly that day for Espinoza and was forced four wide on the final turn but gained some ground in the lane.
Whispering Hush placed in a pair of state-bred stakes prior to breaking her maiden on the turf at Oak Tree Oct. 31. Mike Smith rides her for the first time.
Woodbine invader Ellafitz, now in the barn of Bob Baffert, was supplemented to to the Santa Ysabel for $2,000. A daughter of Tiznow , Ellafitz has had just one start, successfully breaking her maiden at first asking in a $62,500 claiming race at seven furlongs on Polytrack Nov. 4. The bay filly, to be ridden by Garrett Gomez, worked five furlongs on Pro-Ride Jan. 6 in :59 2/5.
Crisp, a daughter of El Corredor trained by John Sadler, and Harissa, an Afleet Alex filly from the barn of David Hofmans, are both coming off maiden wins at 1 1/16 miles at Hollywood Park. Based on her Hollywood effort Nov. 19, Harissa could dictate the pace.
$100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, 4:07 p.m.), 3YO Fillies, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Zilva (PA), R Bejarano, 116, H G Motion
2. Whispering Hush (CA), M E Smith, 116, J E Kruljac
3. Crisp (KY), J Rosario, 116, J W Sadler
4. Harissa (KY), M Garcia, 116, D E Hofmans
5. Evening Jewel (CA), V Espinoza, 122, J M Cassidy
6. Ellafitz (KY), G K Gomez, 114, B Baffert