LAUREL, Md. – Merriebelle Stable’s Bellagamba, a Group 1 winner in her native Argentina, scored her first win in the U.S. by driving past her rivals down the stretch to win the $100,000 Big Dreyfus by 1 ½ lengths over Deciding Vote. It was a neck back to In a Hurry in third.
Bellagamba, ridden by Vincent Cheminaud and trained by Ignacio Correas IV, covered a good 1 1/8-mile turf course in 1:51.15. The 5-year-old mare arrived in the U.S. last year and was winless in five previous starts but had placed in four of those races, including a second-place finish in the Blushing K.D. at Fair Grounds and a third-place finish last time out in the Romacaca Stakes at Hawthorne.
While the longshot Double Fireball was pressed by Godolphin’s Alms on the lead down the backstretch, Bellagamba raced ninth. But Cheminaud moved the daughter of Grand Reward wide entering the stretch and picked off his competitors being driving to the finish line while racing with blinkers for the first time.
“She run the last time very good [at Hawthorne],” Cheminaud said. “I decided to ride from behind because she had natural speed. The grass was a little soft for her, so I prefer to wait a little bit for a good finish.”
Bellagamba returned $11.40.
David Joseph/Maryland Jockey Club
Photo by Jim McCue/MJC