Awesome Baby Goes Long in Santa Ysabel Stakes
Awesome Baby, wire-to-wire winner of the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) going 6 1/2 furlongs, stretches back out to 1 1/16 miles against seven other 3-year-old fillies March 1 in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel (gr. III) at Santa Anita Park.
Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert for owner Kaleem Shah, the Kentucky-bred daughter of Awesome Again was distanced in her only other try at two turns, the Sept. 28 Chandelier Stakes (gr. I) narrowly won by Secret Compass over eventual 2-year-old champion filly She's a Tiger at Santa Anita. Awesome Baby showed the way through the first quarter-mile of the 1 1/16-mile test, but tired to finish fifth of seven that day.
Awesome Baby has trained well since her Santa Ynez win Jan. 4 with seven works to her credit since then. Her most recent drill came Feb. 24, a half in :48 3/5 at Santa Anita.
Baffert also will be represented by Be Proud, a gate-to-wire winner of the Feb. 8 California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields. Second in both the Phil D. Sheperd Stakes at Barretts Race Meet at Fairplex Sept. 13 and the Sharp Cat Stakes Nov. 16 at Betfair Hollywood Park, the Proud Citizen filly has gone two turns in her past five starts for Hal and Patti Earnhardt.
Like Baffert, fellow Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer also will be represented by a pair in the Santa Ysabel. Peachtree Stable's Artemis was an impressive mile maiden winner two starts back. The daughter of Empire Maker comes off a fifth in the Feb. 1 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) going a mile.
Swiss Lake Yodeler was also well beaten last time out as the 3-1 favorite in the one-mile California Cup Oaks on the Santa Anita turf Jan. 25, but should relish a return to dirt. A homebred who races for Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams, the Swiss Yodeler miss was an emphatic 2 1/4-length winner of the Golden State Juvenile Fillies Stakes going a mile at Santa Anita Nov. 1. She is the leading money earner in the field with $235,850, and has three wins and a second from five outings.
Trained by John Shirreffs, Pam and Martin Wygod's homebred Sweet Bliss broke her maiden going 1 1/16 miles Jan. 30 and is eligible to improve in what will be her third start Saturday. A Kentucky-bred by Street Cry , Sweet Bliss worked six furlongs at Santa Anita in 1:14 3/5 Feb. 22 and will hope to be rolling late.
A close second from far off the pace in the Cal Cup Oaks Jan. 25, Anniversary Kitty is another who would benefit from a fast pace. Trained by Craig Dollase and owned by Highlander Racing Stable, the California-bred daughter of Tribal Rule was a first-out maiden winner against California-breds going six furlongs on turf Dec. 21 at Hollywood.
Like Artemis, Saintly Joan comes out of the Las Virgenes, where she was sixth. Trained by John O'Hara, the Kentucky-bred by Northern Afleet has routed in her last three races and will be making her sixth start overall. She had been ridden by the recently injured Martin Pedroza in all five of her previous outings, and will be handled for the first time by Tyler Baze. Saintly Joan is owned by Steven Bajer, Gem Inc., and Dustin O'Hara.
A first-out maiden special weight winner going a mile Dec. 15 at Golden Gate, trainer Tim McCanna's Tiz Kissable rallied late to finish third, beaten three lengths in the 1 1/16 mile California Oaks. A Kentucky-bred by Tiz Wonderful , she is owned by Jethorse LLC.
$100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III, Race 8, approximate post time 4:00 p.m. PST), 3YO fillies, 1 1/16 miles (dirt)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Artemis (KY), G.L. Stevens, 119, J Hollendorfer
2. Anniversary Kitty (CA), J. Talamo, 119, C Dollase
3. Awesome Baby (KY), M.E. Smith, 119, B Baffert
4. Swiss Lake Yodeler (CA), R. Bejarano, 119, J Hollendorfer
5. Tiz Kissable (KY), M. Gutierrez, 119, T McCanna
6. Sweet Bliss (KY), E.A. Maldonado, 119, J A Shirreffs
7. Be Proud (KY), M. Garcia, 119, B Baffert
8. Saintly Joan (KY), T. Baze, 119, J O'Hara
Blinkers On: Artemis, Saintly Joan
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