01/17/2005 1:00AM

Sharp Lisa wins Santa Ynez Stakes

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BENOIT PHOTO
Sharp Lisa and jockey Tyler Baze fly to the finish to win the Grade II, $150,000 Santa Ynez Stakes on Monday at Santa Anita.

ARCADIA, Calif. - The easy part of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting ended on Monday for Sharp Lisa, the winner of the $150,000 for 3-year-old fillies.

From here on, she is expected to tangle with the Grade 1 winners Sweet Catomine and Splendid Blendid in the division's top races of the meeting.

Sharp Lisa ($3.80) scored her first stakes win in the Grade 2 Santa Ynez. Ridden by Tyler Baze, she rallied from fifth to reach contention in early stretch and pulled clear late to win by 1 1-2 lengths.

"She's half their size, but she's got the heart," trainer Doug O'Neill said.

The win ended a three-race losing streak for Sharp Lisa, which included a second in the Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland, a sixth behind Sweet Catomine in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Lone Star Park and a runner-up finish behind Splendid Blended in the Hollywood Starlet last month.

Baze rode Sharp Lisa for the first time and kept her in good position throughoug. When Baze asked Sharp Lisa to produce a rally in early stretch, she responded quickly.

No Bull Baby, who won the Moccasin Stakes at Hollywood Park in November, finished second, three lengths ahead of Hot Attraction who was making her stakes debut.

Sharp Lisa finished seven furlongs in 1:23.10.

"This is something we always wanted to see happen," O'Neill said of the victory. "We didn't want her to get into the habit of running behind other horses."

Owned by Paul Reddam, Pablo Suarez and Mark Schlesinger, Sharp Lisa has won 2 of 5 starts and $261,600. She is likely to resurface in the Grade 1 Las Virgenes Stakes over a mile on Feb. 12, which is likely to draw Sweet Catomine and Splendid Blended.