Updated on 09/16/2011 6:37AM

Bella Bella Bella triple tough

Benoit & Associates
Bella Bella Bella, a heavy favorite in Sunday's Santa Ysabel, wins the Golden Ballet Stakes at Hollywood Park.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The acute shortage of quality 3-year-old fillies in California is evident in Sunday's $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita.

Of the four entrants, only * has beaten winners. No Turbulence and Tamarack Bay are recent maiden winners, and Gaslamp Girl finished fourth in a maiden race for $32,000 claimers on Dec. 29 in her only start.

The Santa Ysabel is a far cry from the Grade 1 Starlet Stakes at Hollywood Park on Dec. 16, when the top three finishers were Habibti, You, and Tali'sluckybusride, all major stakes winners last year. Any of them would have been a heavy favorite in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel, a role that falls to Bella Bella Bella.

Unbeaten in two starts, Bella Bella Bella makes her first appearance at 1 1/16 miles Sunday. She comes off a convincing win in the restricted Golden Ballet Stakes for California-bred 2-year-old fillies over 6 1/2 furlongs at Hollywood Park on Dec. 8.

Owned by Team Valor Racing Stable and trained by Jenine Sahadi, Bella Bella Bella would have been a leading contender in the California Breeders' Champion Stakes against statebreds on

Dec. 27. But a conversation in mid-December between Sahadi and Barry Irwin, the president of Team Valor, led to Bella Bella Bella starting in the Santa Ysabel.

"Barry felt strongly that we need to get her stretched out," Sahadi said. "This looks like a good spot."

Bella Bella Bella's ability around two turns is one of the few questions surrounding her chances Sunday.

Ridden by Chris McCarron, Bella Bella Bella breaks from post 3. She is likely to stalk No Turbulence, a nine-length winner of a seven-furlong maiden race at Hollywood Park on Dec. 5.

In her two starts, Bella Bella Bella stalked the pace to early stretch before taking the lead.

"She probably lacks a little seasoning, but Chris knows her well," Sahadi said. "I think she's pretty versatile. Chris is very familiar with her. I would be very surprised if she doesn't rate, but until they do it you never know."

No Turbulence needed five races to beat maidens, and Tamarack Bay has not started since October.

Trained by Jerry Dutton, Tamarack Bay won over a mile here on Oct. 26 in her third career start, beating No Turbulence by 5 1/2 lengths.


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