Updated on 09/16/2011 7:38AM

Bella Bella Bella takes Santa Ysabel


ARCADIA, Calif. - Apparently, Bella Bella Bella does not mind a fight.

In Sunday's $105,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes* (click here for chart) at Santa Anita, Bella Bella Bella ($2.80) outgamed a stubborn Tamarack Bay through the stretch to win by a neck and remain unbeaten after three starts.

Run over 1 1-16 miles for 3-year-old fillies, the result of the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel Stakes was in doubt until the final turn. There were only four fillies in the Santa Ysabel, but three of them were across the track passing the three-eigths pole.

At that point, Bella Bella Bella was racing two-wide while challenging the long-time leader No Turbulence when Tamarack Bay snuck through along the rail under Alex Solis to reach contention.

"I thought if we had a chance, that was it," Solis said.

No Turbulence faded before the stretch, leaving Tamarack Bay and Bella Bella Bella alone on the lead. Tamarack Bay led narrowly in early stretch, but Bella Bella Bella, racing on the outside, was confidently ridden by jockey Chris McCarron and finished in 1:44.14.

Tamarack Bay finished four lengths in front of No Turbulence, who was 10 lengths clear of Gaslamp Girl.

Owned by Team Valor Racing Syndicate and trained by Jenine Sahadi, Bella Bella Bella won her first graded stakes in the Santa Ysabel, improving her earnings to $117,430.

"I heard everyone gasp when Tamarack Bay came through on the final turn," Sahadi said.

"I think she learned a lot today. She did what she had to do. She'll learn more with each race. I'm very impressed with her."

Previously, Bella Bella Bella won a maiden race for California-breds and the Golden Ballet Stakes for California-breds at Hollywood Park last month. She may reappear in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes over a mile here on Feb. 10, Sahadi said.

* In the $76,850 Hill Rise Stakes, Mountain Rage confirmed his turf form with his second stakes win in three starts.

Ridden by David Flores, Mountain Rage ($7) saved ground to the final turn and drew off to win the one-mile race by three lengths over Sweet Stepper. Night Passion finished third with Paxtecum, the 8-5 favorite, finishing fifth in the field of 10.

Mountain Rage was timed in 1:36.56. Trained by Bob Baffert, Mountain Rage won the Grade 3 Generous Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 24, but was seventh in the Grade 1 Hollywood Futurity on Dec. 15.

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