Horse Racing

Bellafina much the best in Del Mar Debutante

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

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Kaleem Shah's Bellafina has never been the buzz horse at Del Mar, but she'll leave with two graded victories nonetheless.

The two-year-old Quality Road filly entered the summer meet a maiden after a second-place debut run at Los Alamitos Race Course, but she broke her maiden in the August 5 Sorrento Stakes (G2) and validated that effort with another victory by a wide margin in the US$300,000 Del Mar Debutante Stakes (G1) on Saturday.

With a stalking trip just outside of Mother Mother after a break from the outside in the field of five, Bellafina took command midway through the turn and had little challenge the rest of the way en route to a 4 1/4-length win. After she set fractions of :21.93 and :44.68 through a half-mile, Mother Mother held for second, 3 1/4 lengths clear of Boujie Girl.

“She broke sharp, she was into the bit today, and she was always in good position,” said winning trainer Simon Callaghan. “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.”

Bellafina finished the seven furlongs in 1:25.51 under jockey Flavien Prat.

“She was more aggressive today. I think (the Sorrento) got her in that mode,” Prat said. “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.”

Favored Brill broke with the leaders, dropped back to last, and loomed entering the turn, but she lacked a kick in the stretch and came in fourth, a length behind Sorrento third-place finisher Boujie Girl.

“That wasn't her today,” said Brill's jockey, Drayden Van Dyke. “She didn't run her race. She wasn't there for me.”

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