Bellafina Kicks Clear In Del Mar Debutante

Kaleem Shah’s Bellafina showed up with a big effort in Saturday’s Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante, taking command from Mother Mother in the far turn and drawing away to a commanding four-length win as the 2-1 second choice. The juvenile daughter of Quality Road, ridden by Flavien Prat for trainer Simon Callaghan, covered seven furlongs over Del Mar’s fast main track in 1:25.51. The 4-5 favorite Brill did not fire and finished fourth in the field of five.

“She broke sharp, she was into the bit today and she was always in good position,” Callaghan said. “The race went pretty much as we thought it might and it was a really good performance. It was nice to see her really show her class at the end. I said to Kaleem (owner Kaleem Shah) that she’s the best filly I’ve trained.  She’s pretty special and I think she’s going to keep getting better.”

Bellafina took the lead from the pacesetting Mother Mother going into the final turn en route to a daylight four and one-quarter length triumph. The early furlongs were quick, :21.93 for the first quarter and :44.68 for the half-mile time. Mother Mother continued on gamely after relinquishing command and was three and one-quarter lengths in front of third-place Boujie Girl at the end. Brill, the 3-5 favorite, was a disappointment as she finished fourth, beating only 40-1 outsider Watch Me Burn.

“No special instructions going in,” Prat said. “She was more aggressive today. I think that race the other day (when she broke her maiden August 5 here going six furlongs) got her in that mode. She was on it. Then when she made the lead, she just dropped the bit; she backed off. Can she go farther?  Well, I guess we’ll see.”

Bred in Kentucky by JSM Equine, the filly did not meet her reserve when bidding stopped at $220,000 at the Keeneland September sale, but was sold at the Fasig-Tipton Florida Select Juvenile sale for a tag of $800,000 earlier this year. Bellafina was second on debut, then broke her maiden in the G2 Sorrento Stakes for her second career start. Overall, she is two-for-three with earnings of over $300,000.

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