Dream Tree, Midnight Bisou Meet Again in Santa Ysabel
The Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert has won the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) on three occasions in the past, which is why all eyes will be on Baffert’s unbeaten filly Dream Tree in Saturday’s $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita.Although the 8.5-furlong race is only a Grade 3 event, it offers 50 Kentucky Oaks qualification points to the winner and has been won in recent years by the champions Stellar Wind, Songbird, and Unique Bella. Only time will tell if Dream Tree can follow in their footsteps as a champion, but the daughter of Uncle Mo has certainly kicked off her career on the right note. Following a couple of narrow wins in a Santa Anita maiden race and the Desi Arnaz Stakes at Del Mar, Dream Tree stretched out around two turns and cruised to easy victories in the 8.5-furlong Starlet Stakes (gr. I) at Los Alamitos and the one-mile Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita, giving her four wins from four starts at four different distances and three different tracks. Talk about versatility!
But despite her impressive credentials, Dream Tree is far from a shoo-in to win. That’s because one of her rivals is the talented Midnight Bisou, who brings similarly promising form into the Santa Ysabel. The William Spawr-trained filly was beaten just a nose by Dream Tree in both her maiden run and the Desi Arnaz Stakes, after which the two fillies went their separate ways and Midnight Bisou scored an easy 4 ½-length win in the seven-furlong Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) at Santa Anita.
The Santa Ysabel will mark Midnight Bisou’s debut around two turns, but as a daughter of Midnight Lute out of the Repent mare Diva Delite (a stakes winner going 8.5 furlongs), the added distance shouldn’t be an issue. Jockey Mike Smith, who has won three of the last four renewals of the Santa Ysabel, will have the mount.
The John Shirreffs-trained Spring Lily, a five-length maiden winner sprinting 6 ½ furlongs at Santa Anita last month, figures to set the pace along with Thirteen Squared, a Baffert filly that finished fourth in the Las Virgenes. Completing the field are Sweetsongofthenile, who makes her dirt debut following a fourth-place effort in the California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields; and One Fast Broad, who is 3-for-3 on dirt with two stakes wins against California-breds on her record.
Post time for the Santa Ysabel is 6:00 p.m. Eastern.