Alpha Kitten wins the Santa Ynez with Tyler Baze aboard. <br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Alpha Kitten wins the Santa Ynez with Tyler Baze aboard.
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Alpha Kitten is Quick Cat in Santa Ynez

Alpha Kitten gets first stakes win.

She may be named Alpha Kitten, but she ran like Alpha Cougar or Alpha Cheetah, taking charge down the lane and winning the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) for her first stakes win Jan. 17 at Santa Anita.

Giving jockey Tyler Baze his third win of the afternoon, Alpha Kitten did not disappoint bettors who made her the 3-2 favorite over the only prior stakes winner in the field, Evita Argentina, the 2-1 second choice. Evita Argentina finished second while Nan was third.

Alpha Kitten broke sharply from the outside and Baze placed the 3-year-old Tale of the Cat  filly in fourth behind pacesetter Candiletas, Turtle Creek Babe and Deeveetee. They went the opening quarter of the seven-furlong race in :23.51 and a half-mile in :46.31.

As the field cornered for home, Baze had plenty of horse and moved to the lead with ease, the only horse running from the back being Evita Argentina, who closed but never threatened the winner.

"I was a little closer than I thought I’d be early," Baze said. "It seemed like they all moved at the three-eighths and I just kept sitting. I asked her at the five-sixteenths and she just gave it to me.  She’s not very big, but she’s got a huge stride."

Alpha Kitten, bred in Kentucky by her owners, Ann and Jerry Moss, was making just her fourth start. Last year at 2, the filly, out of the Unbridled's Song mare Alpha Mama, broke her maiden in her first start at Del Mar in August. Thrust into stakes company, she ran a good second in the Anokia Stakes at Santa Anita before finishing fourth in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) last month.

"Evita Argentina had to give nine pounds away (123-114), which is a lot of weight for a 3-year-old filly this time of year, because she’s a multiple stakes winner," said John Sadler, who saddled the winner and runner-up. "There wasn’t a lot of pace, and both my fillies ran really, really good races. I was worried when there were several scratches, because a lot of the speed went out of the race, but I thought I had the best horses.

"We’ll try them a route of ground again. It’s important that they get this graded credit on their pedigree. It’s important that they win stakes, so we’ll see what’s out there."

Alpha Kitten paid $5, $2.80, and $2.40, while Evita Argentina returned $2.80 and $2.60. Nan paid $4.60. The final time was 1:21.84.