D’Amato Trainees Loom Large in G3 Royal Heroine

April 25, 2024

Bellabel leads all the way in the Megahertz (G3) Feb. 3 at Santa Anita (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

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Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— Multiple graded stakes winner Bellabel and a new arrival to the Southern California circuit, stakes-placed Uncorked, are among three horses entered by trainer Phil D’Amato in Saturday’s GIII, $100,000 Royal Heroine Stakes at Santa Anita.

The Royal Heroine is for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf. It goes as the ninth race on a competitive 11-race card starting at 1 p.m. PT.

Bellabel returned from a 15 ½-month layoff Feb. 3 and promptly earned a front-running victory in the GIII Megahertz at a mile on turf at Santa Anita. Returning in the GII Buena Vista here March 3, also at a mile on turf, Bellabel checked in fifth when proving no match for highly regarded winner Ruby Nell.

Bred in Ireland, Bellabel is a 5-year-old mare by Belardo. In 2022 she won both the Blue Norther at Santa Anita and GII San Clemente at Del Mar prior to her lengthy layoff. She is owned by Agave Racing, Benowitz Family Trust, CYBT, Michael Nentwig and Ray Pagano. Bellabel is 11: 4-2-2 overall with $368,810.

Jockey Antonio Fresu will ride Bellabel for the first time.

Uncorked makes her first start for D’Amato after previously being based on the East Coast with trainer Brittany Russell. She has not started since a third-place finish in the Nov. 19 Forever Together Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Aqueduct.

Bred in Australia, where she made her first nine career starts, Uncorked is a 5-year-old mare by the Lonhro stallion Pierro. She is owned by The Elkstone Group. Uncorked is 16: 3-4-2 with $174,999 in earnings. She has lured the services of Frankie Dettori for her California debut.

Another new face in the lineup is Fuente Ovejuna, who invades from South Florida for trainer Brendan Walsh. Most recently, the 5-year-old mare was third in the March 30 Sands Springs Stakes going 1 1/16 miles at Gulfstream Park.

Owned by Fairfellow Farms, Fuente Overjuna is a 5-year-old mare by Lope de Vega bred in Ireland. She is 2-2-5 in 19 starts with $137,507 in earnings. Fuente Overjuna will be ridden by Umberto Rispoli.

Trainer Doug O’Neill entered both stakes winner Stay and Scam and GIII-placed Miss Lizzy.

Stay and Scam earned her first stakes win when taking the Irish O’Brien Stakes for California-breds on Santa Anita’s hillside turf course March 17. That was followed by a second-place effort in the GIII Wilshire when stretched to a mile here April 4.

A 4-year-old Square Eddie filly, Stay and Scam races as a homebred for Reddam Racing. She is 11: 5-3-1 with $310,760 in earnings. Regular rider Mario Gutierrez will be in the irons.

Miss Lizzy stretches out to a mile following a solid second-place finish in the GIII Mizdirection Stakes on the hillside turf course April 6. The 4-year-old Classic Empire filly mare was previously third in the restricted Wishing Well on the hillside course Feb. 25.

Miss Lizzy is owned by Glenn Sorgenstein WC Racing Inc. and Wonderland Racing Stables LLC. She is 17: 4-5-3 with $202,320 in earnings. Jockey Kyle Frey will ride Miss Lizzy for the first time.

THE GIII ROYAL HEROINE WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER

Race 9 of 11 Approximate post time 5 p.m. PT

  1. Miss Lizzy—Hector Berrios—120
  2. Lakota Spirit—Juan Hernandez—120
  3. Bellabel—Antonio Fresu—124
  4. Glenall—Tyler Baze—122
  5. Justique—Mike Smith—120
  6. Irresistible Force—Drayden Van Dyke—120
  7. Uncorked—Frankie Dettori—120
  8. Stay and Scam—Mario Gutierrez—120
  9. Fuente Ovejuna—Umberto Rispoli—120

With 11 races Saturday, including two stakes, first post time is 1 p.m. Admission gates open at 11 a.m.

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