Crisp, who blew the turn in her prior start yet still managed to break her maiden, proved to be an impressive winner of the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita Jan. 10 (VIDEO).
Ridden patiently by Joel Rosario, the talented Crisp closed furiously down the middle of the track to nab Evening Jewel and Ellafitz in deep stretch en route to a one-length victory. The daughter of El Corredor defeated four rivals in the 1 1/16-mile test of 3-year-old fillies in a time of 1:43.56 over the Pro-Ride main track.
Crisp rated in fourth as Ellafitz led Evening Jewel, Harissa, and the rest of the field in single file around the clubhouse turn and down the backstretch. By the time they reached the quarter pole after easy fractions of :24.92, :49.42 and 1:13.55, Evening Jewel, the 122-pound high weight, was bearing down on the leader, Harissa was under pressure to keep up and Crisp was advancing on the outside of rivals.
In the homestretch, Evening Jewel wrested the lead away from Ellafitz, reaching the eighth pole with a slight advantage. But Crisp, under slight left-handed urging, rallied from third to sweep past the leaders, drawing off in the final strides under steady handling.
Evening Jewel, who gave six pounds to the winner, held second by one length over Ellafitz. Harissa ran fourth, followed by the 6-5 favorite Zilva, who chased the field into the stretch and never threatened.
In her prior start Dec. 10 at Hollywood Park, Crisp bore out badly on the far turn, dropping from second to fifth. But she straightened out in the stretch and rallied to win the 1 1/16-mile maiden event by three-quarters of a length. Trainer John Sadler changed to a stronger ring bit that apparently solved the problem.
“I watched her run the last time, and she was getting out with (Rafael) Bejarano," Rosario said. "I wanted to make sure she was relaxed today and I just wanted to put her where she was going to be comfortable. She’s a nice little filly and she did everything I wanted her to do. She finished great.”
Crisp began her career a month earlier at Hollywood with a third-place finish in a maiden sprint. She has now won twice in three starts with earnings of $87,120 for owner Michael Talla.
A $160,000 Keeneland yearling in September 2008, Crisp was bred in Kentucky by James Jones and Randy Swanson. The dark bay or brown filly is out of Cat's Fair, by Sir Cat.
Assistant Larry Benavidez saddled Crisp for Sadler, who did not attend due to illness.
"She’s always kicked (on) and she’s always shown ability from day one," Benavidez said. "She was coming into the stretch pretty confident. It’s pretty neat.”
Sent off as the third choice in the small field, Crisp paid $9.20, $4.80, and $3.20 while topping a $28.60 exacta. Evening Jewel, who won the filly division of the California Breeders' Championship in her last start for trainer Jim Cassidy, returned $3.60 and $2.80. Ellafitz, a newcomer to the Bob Baffert barn from Canada who was supplemented to the race for $2,000, paid $3.20 to show.
Augustin Stable's Zilva was favored after facing grade I company in her two most recent starts. She was coming off a seventh-place finish in the Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).
Whispering Hush scratched.