No worse than third in seven career starts, Scarlet Strike comes off a
nose defeat in the one mile turf Blue Norther Stakes on Jan. 1 and
rates top billing in Saturday’s Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ysabel for
3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles.
A Kentucky-bred filly by Smart Strike, she was second in the
Grade I Chandelier Stakes from off the pace at 1 1/16 miles on Sept. 29,
and she was third in similar fashion in the Grade I Hollywood Starlet
at the same distance on Dec. 8. With a record of 7-1-3-3 and earnings
of $200,340, she’ll again be handled by Joe Talamo who has been aboard
in her last four starts. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, she is owned by
Hollendorfer, Carver or Smith.
The Peter Miller-trained Heir Kitty came flying to run a
troubled fifth, beaten one length, in the Blue Norther under Garrett
Gomez. Second in the Grade II Best Pal at 6 ½ furlongs on Aug. 5,
the Florida-bred filly by Wildcat Heir has ample speed if Gomez opts to
call upon it. With an apparent lack of pace in the Santa Ysabel, Heir
Kitty could be on or close to the early lead Saturday.
Owned by Bernsen or Makin, she has a record of 6-2-1-0 and earnings of $98,410.
Switch to the Lead, whose best race to date was a third-place
finish in the Grade III Sorrento Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 8, comes back
on five days notice after running an even fourth in the Grade II Santa
Ynez at 6 ½ furlongs on Monday.
Trained by Patrick Biancone, the Kentucky-bred filly by Songandaprayer is owned by her breeder, Kona Stable, LLC.
Escape Act, who broke her maiden going six furlongs on turf on
Dec. 15, settled off the pace and came running to finish fourth, beaten a
neck, in the Blue Norther, her first try at two turns.
Trained by Gary Stute, Escape Act is Medaglia d’Oro and was bred
in Kentucky by her owner, Bo Hirsch. Handled by three different
jockeys in four starts, she’ll be ridden back by Martin Garcia. With a
record of 4-1-0-1, she has earnings of $40,290.
Fiftyshadesofhay, who was eighth, beaten only 2 ¾ lengths, rates
an upset chance for Bob Baffert. A maiden special weight winner at 1
1/16 miles on Nov. 22, she’ll be handled by regular rider Rafael
Bejarano. Owned by Pegram, Watson or Weitman, she has $46,490 in
earnings from a 5-1-1-1 mark.
Gary Stevens, who won his first race in seven years aboard Glen
Hill Farm’s Branding on Jan. 12, will ride the Kentucky-bred daughter of
Street Sense back in the Santa Ysabel for trainer Tom Proctor. A handy
2 ½-length maiden winner at seven furlongs, she’ll try two turns for
the first time in her third career start.
The Santa Ysabel, which will be carded as Saturday’s fourth
race, with jockeys and weights in post position order: Escape Act,
Martin Garcia, 119; Fiftyshadesofhay, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Scarlet
Strike, Joe Talamo, 119; Switch to the Lead, Julien Leparoux, 119;
Branding, Gary Stevens, 119, and Heir Kitty, Garrett Gomez, 119.