After four consecutive in-the-money stakes efforts, Scarlet Strike should be ready for her picture in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 26 at Santa Anita Park.
The Santa Ysabel, for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the main track, came up light with just six entrants. The race is the fourth on a Santa Anita Saturday program that includes six stakes events worth nearly a combined $1.2 million.
Scarlet Strike is to be ridden once again by Joe Talamo for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who co-owns the daughter of Smart Strike along with John Carver and Green Smith.
Scarlet Strike broke her maiden on Polytrack at Del Mar in her third start Sept. 2, rallying from 19 lengths off the pace, but has been thwarted in four subsequent starts, all in stakes. Off her big maiden effort, the bay filly ran second to Executiveprivilege in Santa Anita's Chandelier Stakes (gr. I), formerly the Oak Leaf, then posted repeat third-place finishes at Betfair Hollywood Park in the Sharp Cat Stakes and last month's Hollywood Starlet (gr. I).
In her most recent try, Scarlet Strike was second by a nose in a four-horse blanket finish behind Sky High Gal in the one-mile Blue Norther Stakes Jan. 1 at Santa Anita. She has posted three workouts at Hollywood since then, including a pair of bullet moves. In her last drill Jan. 21, she was clocked for a half-mile in 48 seconds flat.
Three others exit the Blue Norther. Bo Hirsch's Escape Act was fourth for trainer Gary Stute, beaten by just a neck; Heir Kitty ran fifth, losing by one length for trainer Peter Miller; and Fiftyshadesofhay, from the Bob Baffert barn, was eighth.
Kona Stable's Switch to the Lead is a supplemental entrant to the Santa Ysabel following a fourth-place finish in the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. III) Jan. 21 for trainer Patrick Biancone. Switch to the Lead will add blinkers for her quick turnaround.
Glen Hill Farm's Branding, to be ridden back by Gary Stevens, was a sharp 2 1/2-length maiden graduate going seven furlongs over the track Jan. 12 for trainer Tom Proctor.
$100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III, Race 4, 1:30 p.m.), 3YO fillies, 1 1/16 Miles
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Escape Act (KY), M Garcia, 119, G Stute
2. Fiftyshadesofhay (KY), R Bejarano, 118, B Baffert
3. Scarlet Strike (KY), J Talamo, 119, J Hollendorfer
4. Switch to the Lead (KY), J R Leparoux, 119, P L Biancone
5. Branding (KY), G L Stevens, 119, T F Proctor
6. Heir Kitty (FL), G K Gomez, 119, P Miller
Blinkers On: Switch to the Lead