Bellafina Gives A Fierce Performance In Desert Stormer

May 18, 2020

ARCADIA, Calif. –To quote Judy Garland’s Dorothy, “There’s no place like home.” And that was very true indeed today at Santa Anita, as trainer Simon Callaghan’s Bellafina rolled to a one length score in the Grade III, $100,000 Desert Stormer Stakes, her fifth win in seven Santa Anita starts. With Flavien Prat collecting his fifth win of the day, Bellafina made amends for a disappointing run last month at Oaklawn Park by getting six furlongs in 1:09.85. 

Breaking from post position four in a field of seven fillies and mares, Bellafina was an attentive third, about three lengths off dueling leaders Artistic Diva and Fighting Mad mid-way around the far turn. She swung three-deep turning for home, took command a sixteenth of a mile out and held off a big late run from longshot Hang a Star to get the money. Fractions on the race were intense at 21.38, 44.47 and 57.07.

“This is pretty cool,” said Prat. “She broke well and she put me in a good spot and we had those two fillies as a target. At the quarter pole, we angled out and she did the rest. It’s great to be back home with this filly, she loves it here.

“I won five in one day at Del Mar last summer, but never here at Santa Anita. Hopefully, I’m not done yet.”

Indeed he wasn’t, as Prat went on to win his sixth race of the day in the ninth race aboard Harper’s Gallop for trainer Jack Carava.

Fourth as the 7-5 favorite in an ungraded six furlong stakes April 25 in Arkansas, Bellafina was off as the 4-5 favorite today and she paid $3.60, $2.80 and $2.10.

Resplendent in part-owner’s Kaleem Shah’s red, white and blue colors, Bellafina picked up $60,000 for a partnership that includes Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor and Derrick Smith. A three-time Grade I winner, Bellafina notched her seventh grades stakes win and seven wins from 15 overall starts and earnings of $1,512,975.

“It unfolded pretty much as we expected,” said Callaghan. “We had decent speed and Flavien had her in a great position to stalk and gave us a really good performance. It shows how much she loves Santa Anita and we’re glad to get her back in the Winner’s Circle.

Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Hang a Star flew late to finish second, a head in front of Fighting Mad. The longest shot in the field at 40-1, Hang a Star paid $18.80 and $6.60.

The original third place finisher, Fighting Mad, who was ridden by Drayden Van Dyke and was a length clear of Mother Mother at the wire, was disqualified for interference leaving the gate and placed fourth, behind her stablemate.

Mother Mother, ridden by Mike Smith, was the second choice at 2-1 and paid $2.20 to show.

Santa Anita Press Release 

Photo: Bellafina. Credit: Benoit Photos 

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