01/05/2006 1:00AM

Sabatini stands out in Santa Ysabel


ARCADIA, Calif. - With divisional leaders Folklore and Wild Fit, along with Hollywood Starlet winner Diplomat Lady, awaiting spots later this meet, some of the second-level 3-year-old fillies at Santa Anita will have a chance to shine on Saturday in the Grade 3, $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes.

One of them, though, appears to have the potential to break into the upper echelon. Sabatini is the only horse in the Santa Ysabel field who has placed in a graded stakes race, finishing third in the Starlet while making her first start against winners, in a stakes race, and around two turns. She should be an overwhelming favorite against six rivals.

won first time out at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, romping by five lengths in a one-turn mile. In last month's Starlet, she fell far off the pace, then rallied wide while closing from 10th to third in the 11-horse field. The Santa Ysabel, like the Starlet, is at 1 1/16 miles.

"The first time going two turns, she was a little lost, and she lost more ground than we expected," said Patrick Biancone, who trains Sabatini. "She also was back too far early. But she finished well.

"She's a very good filly. We've known that for a long time," he said. "She was supposed to run in August, but she had a little shin problem, so she got pushed back. She confirmed the other day what she showed in her maiden race. She needs to run to get to the next step. Ability is not enough. She needs experience."

Garrett Gomez rode Sabatini in the Starlet, and is back aboard Saturday.

Sabatini's rivals are a largely inscrutable bunch with limited form. Their only hope is that Sabatini's late run comes up short.

scored a 12-1 upset against maidens at Hollywood Park in her third lifetime start.

"She probably belongs in a first-condition allowance, but she's training great, and a lot of the horses might be suspect at the distance," said Jenine Sahadi, who trains Miss Fury. "I'm sure the Biancone filly is going to park. I just want my filly to drop her head and make one run."

rallied to finish second in Hollywood Park's Sharp Cat Stakes to Balance, who subsequently was second in the Starlet. I Can See was fourth in the Sharp Cat, beaten 12 1/2 lengths.

was sixth in the Starlet. Horse B With You defeated a starter-allowance field at Hollywood last time out, her second victory in three starts.

Itty Bitty Pretty was second to Diplomat Lady in a first-level allowance sprint at Hollywood, the race Diplomat Lady used as her prep for her Starlet win.