Faiza Puts Undefeated Record On The Line In Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes
__FAIZA PUTS UNDEFEATED RECORD ON THE LINE IN SUNDAY’S GRADE III, $100,000 SANTA YSABEL STAKES __
THE RACE, WHICH ALSO FEATURES THE RETURN OF GRADE II WINNER AND TELL ME NOLIES, IS THE FINAL MAJOR STEPPINGSTONE TO THE GRADE II SANTA ANITA OAKS ON APRIL 1.
ARCADIA, Calif. (March 2, 2023)— Faiza, unbeaten in three starts for trainer Bob Baffert, will try and add a third graded stakes win to the resume Sunday when she takes on five rivals in the Grade III Santa Ysabel at 1 1/16 miles. The Santa Ysabel, which is a point-paying prep for the Kentucky Oaks, was originally scheduled for last Saturday but was rescheduled after racing was canceled due to rain.
Faiza is exiting a narrow half-length win victory the Grade III Las Virgenes going a mile here Jan. 28. Sent off at even money, the Girvin filly was up near the pace throughout under Ramon Vazquez before prevailing over Pride of the Nile, who also returns in the Santa Ysabel. About three lengths further back in third in the Las Virgenes was Justique, who also wheels back in the Santa Ysabel.
Owned by Michael Lund Petersen, Faiza was purchased for $725,000 at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in training sale. She won her debut sprinting at Del Mar on Nov. 12 and came right back to win the Grade I Starlet going 1 1/16 miles at Los Alamitos on Dec. 10.
Faiza will break from the outside stall in post six on Sunday. Flavien Prat, who was aboard for Faiza’s first two victories, takes over in the irons.
West Coast Stables’ Pride of the Nile will get her third crack at Faiza after finishing a close second in both the Starlet and Las Virgenes. Prior to tangling with Faiza, Pride of the Nile made her first three starts on turf and won two for trainer Doug O’Neill including a first-level allowance going a mile at Del Mar Nov. 12.
Santa Anita leading rider Juan Hernandez has ridden Pride of the Nile in each of her last four starts and again has the call on Sunday.
And Tell Me Nolies returns to action following an eighth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies on Nov. 4 at Keeneland. Trained by Peter Miller, And Tell Me Nolies reeled off three straight wins prior to the Breeders’ Cup including the Grade I Del Mar Debutante and Grade II Chandelier going 1 1/16 miles here Oct. 8.
Owned by Peter Redekop, And Tell Me Nolies was a $230,000 purchase at last year’s OBS Spring Sale of 2-year-olds in training. She has worked eight times since mid-January for her comeback. Vazquez, who was aboard for all five starts last year, again has the call Sunday.
Justique will look to regain her winning form after failing to menace in the Las Virgenes. Trained by John Shirreffs, Justique previously won the seven-furlong Desi Arnaz and was third behind And Tell Me Nolies in the Chandelier when trying two turns for the first time.
Owned by C R K Stable, Justique was a $725,000 purchase at the 2021 Keeneland September yearling sale. She will again be ridden by Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza, who has been aboard for all four previous starts.
THE GRADE III SANTA YSABEL WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 3 of 9 Approximate post time 1:30 p.m. PT
- Pride of the Nile—Juan Hernandez—122
- And Tell Me Nolies—Ramon Vazquez—124
- Blessed Touch—Hector Berrios—120
- Spanning the Globe—Kazushi Kimura—120
- Justique—Victor Espinoza--120
- Faiza—Flavien Prat—124
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m