10/31/2009 11:00PM

Crisis of Spirit wins stakes debut at Santa Anita


ARCADIA, Calif. - Crisis of Spirit won her second consecutive sprint - and stakes debut - in Sunday's $63,672 at Santa Anita's Oak Tree meeting. Jockey Mike Smith said the time has arrived to try her in longer races.

"I like the way she relaxed more," Smith said. "At Del Mar, she was very much on the muscle. The next time, she was better and today she was even better."

Crisis of Spirit was the third of four consecutive winners in Sunday's first four races for trainer Bob Baffert, the leading trainer at the Oak Tree ameeting.

Sent off as a strong favorite, Crisis of Spirit ($2.80) won the six-furlong Anoakia Stakes by three-quarters of a length over Well Deserved. Crisis of Spirit was third for the first half-mile, stalking Camille C and Well Deserved who set early fractions of 22.20 and 45.41 seconds.

With a three-wide rally, Crisis of Spirit took the lead in the final furlong and was urged to the finish to beat Well Deserved. Crisis of Spirit was timed in 1:09.39. "I could have taken her farther back, which is a good thing," Smith said.

Owned by Mike Pegram, Crisis of Spirit has won 2 of 3 starts and $71,265. She finished second to stablemate, and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies hopeful, Always a Princess in a maiden race at Del Mar on Sept. 5, and was an impressive winner of a maiden race here on Oct. 4.