Press-Telegram (Long Beach)

Beautiful Gift wins Santa Ysabel at wire

- By Art Wilson

Another day, another stakes victory for trainer Bob Baffert.

Baffert, who sent out Life Is Good for a scintillat­ing victory in Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes, saddled Beautiful Gift in Sunday’s $100,000 Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita and watched her nail Moraz at the wire in an important prep for the Santa Anita Oaks on April 3.

Beautiful Gift, a daughter of Medaglia d’Oro, was forced to check at the quarter pole, allowing Moraz to open a 2 ½-length lead about a sixteenth of a mile from home, but the winner, under urging from jockey John Velazquez, closed strongly for the victory.

Sent postward as the 3-1 third choice behind one of Baffert’s other two entrants, Kalypso (3-5), and Moraz (2-1), Beautiful Gift ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.83 and picked up 50 qualifying points for the Kentucky Oaks on April 30.

It didn’t compare to Life Is Good’s impressive clocking of 1:42.18 for the 1 1/16 miles of the San Felipe, but it was good enough to get her connection­s thinking about the big races ahead for 3-yearold fillies.

“I didn’t think Johnny was going to get there and all of a sudden that mare kicked in,” Baffert said. “She’s (Beautiful Gift) really (good). We gave her some time. She got really light on us. The further the better for her.”

Which is good news for the filly’s camp as the Kentucky Oaks, presumably the ultimate goal, is a bit longer at 1 1/8 miles.

Beautiful Gift had not raced since a maiden victory at 1 mile on Oct. 23 at Santa Anita. Owned and bred by her owner, Baoma Corp., she raised her career bankroll to $99,600 with the $60,000 first-place check.

“I didn’t think she got there until I saw the super slow mo, but I’m just happy that they ran well,” Baffert said.

 ?? BENOIT PHOTO ?? Beautiful Gift (2) and jockey John Velazquez win the Grade III $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes on Sunday at Santa Anita.
BENOIT PHOTO Beautiful Gift (2) and jockey John Velazquez win the Grade III $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes on Sunday at Santa Anita.

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