Three-year-old Awesome Baby made it 2-for-2 in graded stakes company in 2014 with a front-running, 2 3/4-length score in Saturday's $100,000 Santa Ysabel S. (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
Owned by Kaleem Shah, the Bob Baffert trainee won the Grade 2 Santa Ynez S. in similar style on Feb. 1.
With her natural speed, jockey Mike Smith sent Awesome Baby to the front in Saturday's feature run over a wet-fast surface. Left to her own devices early on, the dark bay filly got a challenge from Artemis on the backstretch, but quickly shook her off going into the second turn, and was never seriously challenged thereafter.
The final time was a solid 1:41.58 considering the track conditions.
“She’s been working really well and we’ve been pointing her for this race,” said Baffert. “I was a little bit worried about the off track, but she was very professional today and we were hoping she would run this well. Mike did a great job of keeping her on the lead.”
Awesome Baby has now won three of five starts, earning $230,250. She also earned 10 points towards guaranteeing entry in the Kentucky Oaks (G1).
“That was real impressive to me since I didn’t know if she was going to get the distance at all,” Smith added. “And, not only did we get it, but she was well within herself at the wire and pulled up with a lot of energy. I was really impressed.”
Though official plans have not been determined, the $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G1) on April 5 would seem a likely spot for Awesome Baby's next outing.