Awesome Baby, a gate-to-wire winner of the Grade 2 Santa Ynez going 6 1/2 furlongs on January 4, heads a field of eight three-year-old fillies entered in Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Santa Ysabel at 1 1/16 miles Saturday at Santa Anita.
A Kentucky-bred filly by Awesome Again, Awesome Baby was distanced by 23 lengths in her only other try at two turns in the Grade 1 Chandelier going 8 1/2 furlongs on September 28. She showed the way after the first half-mile but caved readily to be fifth on the wire in that seven-horse field.
Conditioned by Bob Baffert, Awesome Baby has trained well out of her Santa Ynez win, with seven works to her credit since. Her most recent move came on Monday when the dark bay miss drilled a half-mile in :48 3/5 over Santa Anita's fast main track.
Awesome Baby had Martin Garcia aboard for her initial three starts, but Mike Smith was in the saddle for the Santa Ynez and retains the mount on Saturday.
Garcia hasn't been left out in the cold on Saturday. The top jock will be in the irons of another Baffert trainee in Be Proud, who was a gate-to-wire winner of the 1 1/16-mile California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields on February 8 under Russell Baze.
Garcia was holding the reins when Be Proud ran second in both the Phil D. Shepherd at Fairplex and Sharp Cat at Hollywood Park last fall. The bay daughter of Proud Citizen will be making her fourth straight foray at 8 1/2 furlongs in the Santa Ysabel.
Like Baffert, Jerry Hollendorfer will be represented by a pair in the Santa Ysabel.
Artemis was an impressive one-mile maiden winner over the track two starts back for Hollendorfer, and the bay daughter of Empire Maker comes off an even fifth in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes going that same distance on February 1.
A two-time stakes winner versus statebreds, Hollendorfer's Swiss Lake Yodeler was well beaten as the 3-1 favorite in the one-mile Cal Cup Oaks over Santa Anita's turf on January 25. The California-bred filly by Swiss Yodeler was an emphatic 2 1/4-length winner of the Golden State Juvenile Fillies going eight furlongs at Santa Anita last November and should appreciate the return to dirt Saturday.
Gary Stevens has the call on Artemis while Rafael Bejarano rides Swiss Lake Yodeler.
Anniversary Kitty got the best of the latter filly when a close second from far off the pace in the Cal Cup Oaks most recently. The Craig Dollase pupil would benefit from a fast pace on Saturday, as she did when taking her maiden debut in late December at Hollywood Park. Joe Talamo has piloting duties on the Tribal Rule filly.
Tiz Kissable was an easy four-length, first-out maiden scorer in December at Golden Gate Fields, and will be looking to turn the tables on Be Proud after finishing third to that one in the California Oaks in just her second start last month. The Tim McCanna trainee rallied late that day to just miss second by a head, and gets the services of jockey Mario Gutierrez for the first time on Saturday.
The Santa Ysabel field is completed by Sweet Bliss, who broke her maiden over track and distance on January 30, and Saintly Joan, who drew the outside post and will attempt to improve off a pair of sixth-place runs in the Las Virgenes and Blue Norther.