June 24, 2024

Kinza looms large in Santa Ysabel; Adare Manor makes season debut in Beholder Mile

Kinza wins the Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita Park (Photo by Benoit Photography)

Kinza enters the $100,000 Santa Ysabel (G3) at Santa Anita on Saturday as the filly to beat after beginning her career with back-to-back wins for trainer Bob Baffert.

A daughter of Carpe Diem, Kinza was a mildly surprising winner on debut on Dec. 29, scoring by more than seven lengths in the six-furlong dash as a 5-1 chance. But Kinza was far more respected last time in the Las Virgenes (G3), in which she led throughout and won by two lengths as the even-money choice in her first two-turn test.

The Santa Ysabel has also attracted She’s a Tempest, an even third in the Las Virgenes, but perhaps the strongest challenges to Kinza might come from recent maiden winners Nay V Belle, Ultimate Authority, and Shiloh’s Mistress.

Victorious at first asking by two lengths, Nay V Belle stretches out from 6 1/2 furlongs, while Ultimate Authority rebounded from a head loss to She’s a Tempest by earning her diploma by a half-length over Where’s My Ring going a mile in early February. Shiloh’s Mistress invades from Kentucky, where she, too, graduated in her third attempt, in her case over the Tapeta at Turfway Park in early January.

The Santa Ysabel, which has a total field of eight, will offer Kentucky Oaks (G1) qualifying points of 50-25-15-10-5 to the respective top five finishers. Kinza, however, is ineligible to accrue Oaks points due to Baffert’s continued suspension from racing at Churchill Downs.

Also on the Santa Anita menu Saturday are the $300,000 Beholder Mile (G1) for older fillies and mares and the $100,000 San Simeon (G3) for older turf sprinters going about 6 1/2 furlongs.

Adare Manor, Southern California’s top older mare last season, figures to be a solid Beholder Mile favorite in her season debut. The field of nine also includes recent La Canada (G3) scorer Desert Dawn and the Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Green Up and Interstatedaydream, both of whom have registered multiple triple-digit Brisnet speed ratings during the course of their respective careers.

The San Simeon field also has nine, including graded winners Lane Way, Dancing Buck, and Air Force Red.