ZILVA TAKES AIM AT FIVE RIVALS IN SUNDAY'S SANTA YSABEL

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 7, 2010) – Augustin Stable’s Zilva, whose stretch runs fell short in both the Grade I Alcibiades and $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies, will take aim at five rivals Sunday in Santa Anita’s 43rd running of the Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.

A Florida-bred daughter of Successful Appeal trained by H. Graham Motion, Zilva may find Sunday’s competition more compatible after making up nearly nine lengths in the Grade I Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 6 at Santa Anita’s Oak Tree meeting.

Zilva wound up 2 ½ lengths behind victorious She Be Wild, but had to settle for seventh in the well-bunched finish on racing’s championship weekend. She previously had closed well for fourth after being off slowly in the Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland on Oct. 9.

The Santa Ysabel will mark her return to competition following the Breeders’ Cup and Zilva will have a new rider in Rafael Bejarano, who replaces Jeremy Rose. Rose was aboard for her last three starts including her maiden breaker on turf at Saratoga on Sept. 2. Zilva will take earnings of $63,470 into the Santa Ysabel from a 1-0-1 mark in five career starts.

Her competition includes stakes winner Evening Jewel, a California-bred daughter of Northern Afleet trained by Jim Cassidy for Tom and Marilyn Braly. In her first distance test, Evening Jewel won the recent $100,000 California Breeders’ Championship at 1 1/16 miles under Victor Espinoza over Santa Anita’s Pro-Ride surface on Dec. 27. She is being wheeled back in two weeks with Espinoza back on board.

“I like the way she ran,” Espinoza said following her victory in the stakes for California-breds. “I worked her the other day and I knew she was ready. She worked unbelievable, and she ran the same way.” “I always thought she’d stretch out,” Cassidy said after the race.

Her sire was considered the best horse he had ever owned by Ron Waranch, a longtime supporter of the sport who passed away on Wednesday at the age of 78.

Evening Jewel’s stakes win followed four sprint efforts and boosted her earnings to $100,600 from a 2-2-0 record in five races. She will carry high weight of 122 pounds.

Bob Baffert, who saddled last year’s Santa Ysabel winner, Century Park, has supplemented Ellafitz, a newcomer from Canada at a cost of $2,000. Garrett Gomez has taken the riding assignment.

The complete field for the Santa Ysabel, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Zilva, Rafael Bejarano, 116; Whispering Hush, Mike Smith, 116; Crisp, Joel Rosario, 116; Harissa, Martin Garcia, 116; Evening Jewel, Victor Espinoza, 122, and Ellafitz, Garrett Gomez, 114.

The Santa Ysabel will be contested as the eighth-race on a nine race program with first post at 12:30 p.m.

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