Saturday March 1 – Santa Anita Park
Scheduled post time 4:07pm PST
The Santa Ysabel, a Grade 3 prep for the Santa Anita Oaks, has eight entrants, half of whom are not trained by Bob Baffert or Jerry Hollendorfer. They’ll all be running a mile and 1/16 on dirt, and if the early weather reports prove accurate, the dirt might well be muddy.
Here we go again. The TimeformUS Pace Projector shows Bob Baffert’s Awesome Baby on a clear early lead, and Bob Baffert’s Be Proud in second-place early, which figures to put Baffert in a strong position pace-wise, since it’s unlikely his two fillies will duel with each other early. The Baffert pair is followed by Swiss Lake Yodeler, who is shown stalking in third-place, then Artemis, a tucked-in fourth, with Saintly Joan to her immediate outside. Anniversary Kitty and Sweet Bliss should be considered closers, and Tiz Kissable a deep-closer.
Let’s go over the field in post position order, with morning line odds in parentheses:
Artemis (9-2): Ran a speed figure of 100 when breaking her maiden at a mile in early January. Then returned a month later in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes, where she broke a step slow and put in half of a strong backstretch/turn run while very wide. Unfortunately, half of a run was not sufficient at that level of competition (Race Rating: 99), and she finished a well beaten fifth, her speed figure regressing to an 87. Her speed figure of 100 two races back is the second-fastest number any filly in this race has ever run. Owing to the difficulty of her trip, her last race is better than it looks on paper. She is drawn perfectly in the one-hole. She should get a ground-saving stalking trip under Gary Stevens, who makes very few mistakes these days. Her trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer, has had a superb meet and adds blinkers to his filly. Artemis is a strong contender who may get away at a decent price.
Anniversary Kitty (5-1): Makes dirt debut today for Craig Dollase. Both of her turf efforts received speed figures of 82–numbers that are a bit too slow in here. However, her last effort, in a Cal-bred stake, was extremely impressive visually. She lost a ridiculous amount of ground racing wide and still put in a powerful late run. There is serious ability here. The question is whether it will translate to dirt (or mud).
Awesome Baby (5-2): The morning line favorite, she comes in off a Grade 2 sprint victory that received a speed figure of 105, a number that would very likely win this race, too. But can she repeat the effort at 8.5F? Her only previous route attempt was a debacle that we believe says nothing about her ability to get this distance. Her Pedigree Rating for dirt routes, an 80, is solid enough. She would seem to have a good chance at an uncontested early lead. Her trainer is Bob Baffert. Awesome Baby is the most likely winner. But what will her price be? How low is one willing to go on her at this distance? And possibly on an off track? We will try to beat her–while using her defensively in exotics.
Swiss Lake Yodeler (3-1): A Swiss Yodeler, she struggled on grass in her last start. We forgive her. Her synthetic sprint was better, and her lone dirt route better still. But her lifetime top, an 84, is a little light in here given her low morning line odds. She is a contender, to be sure, but at 3-1 odds, we consider her an underlay.
Tiz Kissable (15-1): Interesting filly at what could be a very big price. Makes her third start today. Also makes her dirt debut after racing twice on Tapeta at Golden Gate. Improved her speed figure from her debut (79) to her second start (84) and is certainly eligible to improve further today. Her breeding is slanted toward dirt, not synthetic. Her trainer gets a strong 86 rating with synthetic-to-dirt moves. Although the chart comment doesn’t mention it, she had trouble at the start in her last race, causing her to get away awkwardly.
Sweet Bliss (7-2): Broke her maiden, in a dirt route, in the second start of her career. Did so after breaking about two lengths behind her field. Earned a speed figure of 78. Needs to improve on that today. But this lightly raced filly figures to improve with experience and a clean trip.
Be Proud (5-1): The “other” Baffert. With eight starts in her career, she’s the most experienced filly in the race. Gets back on real dirt today, which her history suggests will work in her favor. But according to our Race Ratings, she exits a relatively weak race. We are assuming that Baffert will not want this filly engaging with Awesome Baby for the early lead. If this assumption proves correct, and the filly follows instructions, it will take her out of her usual running style. We are tossing Be Proud.
Saintly Joan (20-1): A toss for us. Burn us at the stake if she beats us.
Win bet on Artemis.
Use Artemis under Awesome Baby, Swiss Lake Yodeler, and Anniversary Kitty in exactas.
Win bet on Tiz Kissable if her odds go above 20-1.