Faiza Stays Perfect In Santa Ysabel

Thoroughbred Daily News

Michael Lund Peterson’s Faiza (Girvin) kept her record perfect in tact–and gave her sire his second graded win of the weekend–with a stylish victory in the GIII Santa Ysabel S. at Santa Anita Sunday. Sent off the 4-5 favorite, the bay filly tracked pacesetting longshot Blessed Touch (Girvin) through moderate fractions of :24.00 and :48.32. She stuck a head in front into the far turn, but Blessed Touch, proving surprisingly determined, battled back and those two rivals turned for home together with And Tell Me Nolies (Arrogate) joining the fray with a three-wide move at the top of the lane. Blessed Touch finally gave way with a furlong to run and Faiza strode clear as And Tell Me Nolies never threatened the winner while coming home second best. In addition to his one-three in the Santa Ysabel, Girven was represented over the weekend by Dorth Vader, who captured the GII Davona Dale S. at Gulfstream Park Saturday.

“She was travelling well all the way around,” said winning rider Flavien Prat. “I felt that the pace was quite easy, so I could get myself going around the turn and she stretched her legs down the lane really well.”

With the Santa Ysabel and Starlet victories, Faiza now has two victories at 1 1/16 miles.

“It seems like she is getting better, race after race,” Prat said. “I think the distance is not a problem for her. She’s a filly that has stamina so there is definitely improvement.”

While trained by Bob Baffert, Faiza was ineligible to earn the Santa Ysabel’s 50 qualifying points to the GI Kentucky Oaks, but race’s second through fifth-place finishers received 20, 15, 10 and five points.

The second-highest priced offering at last year’s Fasig-Tipton Midlantic May sale after selling to Peterson for $725,000, Faiza was tabbed a ‘TDN Rising Star’ following her 3 1/2-length debut victory going six furlongs at Del Mar Nov. 12. She had a head in front of Pride of the Nile (Pioneerof the Nile) while winning the Dec. 10 GI Starlet S. and defeated that rival by a half-length to win the Jan. 28 GIII Las Virgenes S. last time out.

“She’s got a great mind and she’s by one of the hottest sires Girvin who is just unbelievable,” said Baffert. “We are just lucky and fortunate to have her. Michael Lund Petersen has been very excited about her. She wins but she is still learning how to win. Flavien told me that she wasn’t going to win by a lot. She does just enough. All the jockeys that have ridden her have said that there’s more in the tank and she gets it done. She’s got a beautiful mind, nothing bothers her and she’s sweet. She’s got a great personality.”

Peterson’s success buying out of the Midlantic May sale includes champion Gamine (Into Mischief), who he picked up for $1.8 million in Timonium in 2019.

Pedigree Notes:

From his first crop to race, Girvin now has three graded winners. In addition to Faiza and Dorth Vader, he was represented last year by GII Saratoga Special winner Damon’s Mound. His daughter Atomically was third in the Feb. 4 GIII Forward Gal S.

Sweet Pistol, a daughter of multiple graded stakes winner Pomeroy’s Pistol (Pomeroy) and half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Thousand Words (Pioneerof the Nile), has a 2-year-old filly by Cairo Prince–who sold to Bill Parcell’s August Dawn Farm for $160,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale–and a yearling filly by Complexity. She was bred back to Complexity last year.

Pomeroy’s Pistol, who sold not in foal for $475,000 at the 2020 Keeneland January sale, produced a colt by Authentic last year and was bred back to Curlin.