D’amato Has Solid 1-2 Punch in Sunday’s Blue Norther

January 1, 2022

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 30, 2021)–Trainer Phil D’Amato, who has worked wonders with Irish imports running on grass over the past several years, holds a solid two-card hand in Sunday’s $100,000 Blue Norther Stakes as he’ll send out Helens Well and a new face, Bellabel, as seven newly turned three year old fillies go one mile on turf.

Fourth seven furlongs on turf in her lone Irish six starts back on May 31, Helens Well rallied impressively from off the pace to take her stateside debut, a one mile turf maiden race at Del Mar Aug. 15.  Subsequently campaigned in a series of four one mile turf stakes, she’s given a good account of herself, but she’s been winless since the maiden score.

Most recently fourth, beaten three quarters of a length as the 2-1 favorite in the 11-horse, Grade III Jimmy Durante Stakes Nov. 27, Helens Well will be ridden back by Umberto Rispoli and she rates top billing in a race with no clear-cut standout.

Owned by Benowitz Family Trust, CYBT, Madaket Stables, LL, Michael Nentwig and Ray Pagano, Helens Well is the leading money earner in the field with $118,976 from an overall mark of 6-1-2-0.

A winner versus 17 rivals in her native Ireland, which included some winners and males, Irish-bred Bellabel looms large as she makes her U.S. debut for trainer Phil D’Amato.

Winless in her first four starts in Ireland, she put it all together as the 4-1 favorite on Sept. 16 and has been rehearsing on Santa Anita’s inner training track for her U.S. debut on Sunday.  Owned by It’s All About the Girls, Bellabel will get the services of Flavien Prat.

Quite likely the speed of the race, Jonathan Wong’s Mimajoon blasted off at a gate to wire maiden score going five furlongs over a yielding turf at Golden Gate Fields on Nov. 13 and followed that up with another front-running win, 1 ¼ length tally in the Golden Gate Debutante going six furlongs on synthetic Tapeta Nov. 26.

A soon to be 3-year-old Florida-bred filly by Fed Biz, Mimajoon is owned by Scott Herbertson and will be ridden by Kyle Frey.


Race 8 of 10  Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT

  1. Mimajoon–Kyle Frey–118
  2. Fortunata Tensio–John Velazquez–120
  3. Fuente Ovejuna–Brice Blanc–118
  4. Miss Bellatrix–Juan Hernandez–120
  5. Helens Well–Umberto Rispoli–120
  6. Bellabel–Flavien Prat–120
  7. Shoppingforpharoah–Ricardo Gonzalez–118

Special early first post time for a 10-race card on Sunday is at 12 noon.  Admission gates will open at 10 a.m.  For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

Santa Anita Press Release

Photo: Phil D’Amato (BENOIT PHOTO)

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