Obligatory streaks into G2 Bed o’ Roses

June 5, 2022

ELMONT, N.Y. – Juddmonte’s Obligatory brings a three-race win streak into Friday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Bed o’ Roses, a seven-furlong sprint for older fillies and mares at Belmont Park.

Friday’s 11-race card marks the second day of the three-day Belmont Stakes Racing Festival and features five stakes, including the Grade 1 New York at 10 furlongs on turf for older fillies and mares; the Grade 2, $400,000 Belmont Gold Cup at two-miles on turf for older horses; the Grade 2, $300,000 True North, a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for older horses; and the Grade 3, $200,000 Intercontinental, a six-furlong turf sprint for older fillies and mares.

Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, Obligatory completed her sophomore campaign in November with a 2 1/4-length score in the one-mile Chilukki at Churchill Downs. The 4-year-old Curlin bay, out of the stakes-winning Macho Uno mare Uno Duo, picked up where she left off, posting a three-length score in her seasonal debut in the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie in March at Gulfstream Park.

Last out, the improving grey closed from seventh, 11 lengths off the pace, to win the Grade 1 Derby City Distaff by three-quarters of a length on the Kentucky Derby undercard at Churchill Downs.

Obligatory, with Jose Ortiz up, settled last-of-7 in the Derby City Distaff as Just One Time blitzed through splits of 22.36 and 44.95 over the fast main track. Ortiz angled Obligatory six-wide for the stretch run and rallied determinedly down the lane to secure the narrow score.

That deep-closing score came on the heels of a more prominent effort under Tyler Gaffalione in the Hurricane Bertie where Obligatory was 2 1/2-lengths off the pace at the half-mile call before drawing clear by three lengths in the stretch run.

Mott said he was somewhat concerned with a potential lack of pace Friday’s compact four-horse field

“Her advantage is if there’s a fast pace. There’s a couple horses in there that could go – but it’s not 44 speed,” Mott said. “She has been ridden closer. Down at Gulfstream there was no pace in there and Gaffalione kept her closer and she went on and won.”

Obligatory worked a half-mile in company in 47.88 Sunday over the Belmont dirt training track in company with Casa Creed, who will look to defend his title in Saturday’s Grade 1 Jaipur over the Widener turf.

Ortiz retains the mount from the inside post aboard Obligatory, who won the Grade 2 Eight Belles in April 2021 at Churchill before a close second to Search Results in the Grade 1 Acorn last June at Belmont.

Michael Imperio, Medallion Racing, Sofia Soares, Vincent Scuderi and Parkland Thoroughbreds’ Bella Sofia could be the speed of the race for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.

The 4-year-old Awesome Patriot dark bay captured the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga and the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont with prominent efforts in a productive sophomore season that culminated in a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint in November at Del Mar.

Bella Sofia made her seasonal debut a winning one last out with a hard-fought nose score over the Mott-trained Frank’s Rockette in the Grade 3 Vagrancy Handicap traveling 6 1/2-furlongs on May 14 over Big Sandy.

Rodriguez said he was proud of Bella Sofia’s effort to win the Vagrancy off the layoff.

“When a filly like that comes along and fights the way she did it’s impressive,” Rodriguez said. “The other filly already had a head in front and then she came back and put a head in front of her. It’s very special. Those type of horses don’t come along often.”

Rodriguez said he was a little concerned about coming back on short rest but is pleased Bella Sofia can race out of her own stall.

“She loves Belmont and she’s at home, so that’s a plus,” Rodriguez said. “She’s a very tough filly and she’s in top form right now.”

Bella Sofia worked a half-mile in 49.05 Sunday over Big Sandy in her final prep for Friday’s test.

“She went nice and easy. It was a maintenance work and she was very comfortable,” Rodriguez said. “I clocked her in 49 and change. That’s what I was looking for.”

Luis Saez, who has guided Bella Sofia through 6-of-7 starts, will be charged with working out a winning trip from post 3.

“I don’t think she really needs the lead but she always breaks good, so why take the speed away from her,” Rodriguez said. “Speed is dangerous any day of the week. If she breaks good, we can take it from there. If somebody goes, we can sit.”

Glass Ceiling, trained and co-owned by Charlton Baker with Michael S. Foster, has won four straight races, including her last two in graded events.

The 5-year-old Constitution mare has proven to be an astute claim after being haltered for $40,000 out of a third-place finish in May 2021 at Belmont. She has since posted a record of 9-5-2-1 for her current connections led by scores in the Grade 3 Barbara Fritchie in February at Laurel Park and the Grade 3 Distaff Handicap last out on April 9 at the Big A.

Dylan Davis retains the mount from post 2.

Rounding out the field is Amsterdam Two Stables’ Easy to Bless for trainer James Ferraro. The 4-year-old Flat Out bay has posted a record of 20-9-5-1 and enters from a half-length score over a sloppy and sealed main track on May 19 at Belmont Park.

Jacqueline Davis has been aboard for the last four starts, including a 9 3/4-length score in the Xtra Heat on New York Claiming Championship Day at the Big A, and keeps the mount from post 4.

The Bed o’ Roses is slated as Race 3 on Friday’s 11-race card. First post is 12:50 p.m. Eastern.

NYRA Press Office

Photo: Ryan Thompson

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