One day after his daughter Dorth Vader upset the Davona Dale (G2) at Gulfstream Park, hot young sire Girvin furnished a more formful winner in Sunday’s $100,000 Santa Ysabel (G3) at Santa Anita – 4-5 favorite Faiza, who kept her perfect record intact.
Girvin also sired the third-placer in the Santa Ysabel, Blessed Touch. The 10.10-1 longest shot on the board in the scratch-reduced field of five, Blessed Touch scampered to the lead. Faiza promptly engaged her, and the Girvin fillies were putting on their own match race early.
Although the favorite temporarily backed off down the backstretch, jockey Flavien Prat drove Faiza onward on the far turn, and she renewed the attack. Blessed Touch tried gamely, but she could not contain Faiza. Pulling away to a 2 1/4-length decision in typically gritty fashion, Faiza covered 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.66.
The Kentucky Oaks (G1) implications, however, revolve around the fillies who chased Faiza home. Michael Lund Petersen’s colorbearer was not nominated to the Kentucky Oaks. Nor can Faiza earn points since trainer Bob Baffert is suspended by Churchill Downs Inc.
The stalking And Tell Me Nolies stayed on for second in the Santa Ysabel, adding 20 Oaks points for a total of 30. The winner of last year’s Chandelier (G2) on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, and the Del Mar Debutante (G1), the daughter of Arrogate was making her first start since a disappointing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Blessed Touch held third, good for 15 points, and she now has 16 in all. The two racing at the back of the compact group, Justique and Pride of the Nile, couldn’t get involved from off the steady pace. Spanning the Globe was scratched from what would have been her dirt debut.
Fourth-placer Justique picked up 10 points, increasing her tally to 19, but all from losses. She’s yet to shine over a route of ground, leaving a persistent question about her aptitude.
The trailing Pride of the Nile has an obvious excuse. Restless just before the start, the 2.70-1 second choice hit the gate and ducked in sharply from her inside post. Then Pride of the Nile checked on the clubhouse turn, and she never landed a blow. This was clearly not her true running, since she’d pushed Faiza when a close second in both the Starlet (G1) and Las Virgenes (G3). Pride of the Nile received five points for finishing the Santa Ysabel, and she’ll bring 17 points into her rebound mission next time.
Boasting a 4-for-4 mark with $402,000 in earnings, Faiza was a $725,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic juvenile purchase last May. She was bred by Brereton C. Jones, the proprietor of Airdrie Stud where Girvin has taken up residence in Kentucky, after initially standing in Florida.
Faiza’s dam, the Smart Strike mare Sweet Pistol, is herself a half to past Baffert notable Thousand Words. The 2019 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) hero, Thousand Words garnered the 2020 Robert B. Lewis (G3) and Shared Belief S. at three. He and Sweet Pistol are out of multiple Grade 2-winning sprinter Pomeroys Pistol.