Itty Bitty Pretty and jockey Patrick Valenzuela win the Santa Ysabel Stakes.

Itty Bitty Pretty and jockey Patrick Valenzuela win the Santa Ysabel Stakes.


Itty Bitty Pretty Demolishes Santa Ysabel Foes

Itty Bitty Pretty left the 2-5 favorite Sabatini well behind in the stretch while registering her first stakes win by six lengths in the $109,200 Santa Ysabel (gr. III) for 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita Park Saturday.

Trained by Doug O'Neill for owners STD Racing Stable and Jason Wood, the Kentucky-bred daughter of El Corredor completed the 1 1/16-mile event in 1:44 3/5 with Patrick Valenzuela aboard.

Chased in upper stretch, Itty Bitty Pretty spurted away from Sabatini (Garrett Gomez) and her stablemate Horse B With You (Corey Nakatani) near the furlong marker and was not challenged.

Sabatini was made the heavy favorite off her third-place finish in the Hollywood Starlet (gr. I) Dec. 18.

"I couldn't seem to get her in a comfortable position out there," Gomez said.

Itty Bitty Pretty snapped a three-race losing streak. She was second in her last start, a first-level allowance test Nov. 12 at Hollywood. Overall, she has won two of six while more than doubling her career earnings to $127,909.

The winner stalked the pacesetting Incumbent through early fractions of :23 2/5 and :48 1/5. Itty Bitty Pretty edged up on the turn while three wide as Horse B With You grabbed the lead, reaching the six-furlong mark in 1:13 1/5. Itty Bitty Pretty, bidding four wide coming off the turn, hit the lead in upper stretch and drifted in while clearing away under steady handling from Valenzuela.

"The track is good, and I rated her off the pace," Valenzuela said. "She did the rest."

O'Neill said he didn't expect Incumbent to set the pace.

"But Patrick gave her a perfect, patient ride and, when he called on her, she accelerated perfectly," he said.

Sabatini outdueled Horse B With You for second by 1 1/4 lengths. Trainer Patrick Biancone chalked up Sabatini's effort to inexperience.

"She ran a good race.," said Biancone, who trains Sabatini for Tabor, Magnier and Smith. (Gomez) said she was up on the inside but, on the other hand, she had a very good trip and she learned a bit more. She's a young horse, and she'll continue to improve. She learned something today which was very important for us."

Itty Bitty Pretty, bred in Kentucky by Liberation Farm and Oratis Thoroughbreds, was a $40,000 Barretts buy in May. She's out of Tipsy Girl, by Raise a Cup.

The second choice in the field of six, she paid $11, $3 and $2.10. Sabatini returned $2.20 and $2.10. Horse B With You was $2.10 to show.

I Can See finished fourth, followed by Incumbent and Miss Fury. Sweet Fourty scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)