ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 26, 2014)–Awesome Baby, a gate to wire winner of the Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes going 6 ½ furlongs on Jan. 4, heads a field of eight 3-year-old fillies in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ysabel at 1 1/16 miles Saturday at Santa Anita.
Trained by Bob Baffert, Awesome Baby was distanced by 23 lengths in her only other try at two turns, the Grade I, 1 1/16 miles Chandelier Stakes on Sept. 28.
A Kentucky-bred filly by Awesome Again, Awesome Baby showed the way after the first half mile but caved readily. Owned by Kaleem Shah, Inc., Awesome Baby has trained well out of her Santa Ynez win, with seven works to her credit since. Her most recent drill came on Feb. 24, as she drilled a half mile in 48.60 at Santa Anita.
Awesome Baby, who will be ridden back by Mike Smith, has two wins from four starts and earnings of $170,250.
Baffert will also be represented by Be Proud, a gate to wire winner of the 1 1/16 miles California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields Feb. 8. Second in both the Phil D. Sheperd Stakes at Fairplex Sept. 13 and the Sharp Cat Stakes Nov. 16 at Hollywood Park, Be Proud has gone two turns in her last five starts.
Owned by Hal and Patti Earnhardt, the Kentucky-bred filly by Proud Citizen has two wins and four seconds from eight starts. She has earnings of $117,950.
Like Baffert, Jerry Hollendorfer will also be represented by a pair in the Santa Ysabel. Peachtree Stable’s Artemis was an impressive mile maiden winner two starts back and the daughter of Empire Maker comes off an even run in the Grade I, one mile Las Virgenes Stakes Feb. 1.
Owned by Peachtree Stable, Artemis has a win, a second and a third from four starts.
A two-time stakes winner versus statebreds, Hollendorfer’s Swiss Lake Yodeler was well beaten as the 3-1 favorite in the one mile turf Cal Cup Oaks at Santa Anita on Jan. 25. Owned by her breeders, Mr. and Mrs. Larry D. Williams, the California-bred filly by Swiss Yodeler was an emphatic 2 ¼ length winner of the one mile Golden State Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita on Nov. 1 and should appreciate a return to natural dirt.
The leading money earner in the field with $235,850, Swiss Lake Yodeler has three wins and a second from five starts.
Trained by John Shirreffs, Pam and Martin Wygod’s homebred Sweet Bliss broke her maiden going 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 30 and is eligible to improve in what will be her third start on Saturday. A Kentucky-bred filly by Street Cry, Sweet Bliss worked six furlongs at Santa Anita in 1:14.60 on Feb. 22 and will hope to be rolling late in the Santa Ysabel.
A close second from far off the pace in the one mile turf Cal Cup Oaks on 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 filly by Tribal Rule was a first-out maiden winner against California-breds going six furlongs on turf Dec. 21 at Hollywood Park.
Like Artemis, Saintly Joan comes off an even effort in the Grade I Las Virgenes. Trained by John O’Hara, the Kentucky-bred by Northern Afleet has routed in her last three starts and will be making her sixth overall start on Saturday. Ridden by the recently injured Martin Pedroza in all five of her previous starts, she’ll 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 on Dec. 15 at Golden Gate, trainer Tim McCanna’s Tiz Kissable rallied late to finish third, beaten three lengths in the 1 1/16 miles California Oaks Feb. 8 at Golden Gate and will be making her third start Saturday. A Kentucky-bred by Tiz Wonderful, Tiz Kissable is owned by Jethorse, LLC.
The complete field for the Santa Ysabel, to be run as the eighth race on a nine-race program Saturday, with jockeys, in post position order, all horses assigned 119 pounds: Artemis, Gary Stevens; Anniversary Kitty, Joe Talamo; Awesome Baby, Mike Smith; Swiss Lake Yodeler, Rafael Bejarano; Tiz Kissable, Mario Gutierrez; Sweet Bliss, Edwin Maldonado; Be Proud, Martin Garcia, and Saintly Joan, Tyler Baze.
First post time on Saturday is 12:30 p.m. Santa Anita’s admission gates will open at 10:30 a.m.