Bellafina Kicks Off 2020 in Carousel Stakes
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
Bellafina, a $1.4 million-earner, drew the rail in an eight-horse field of fillies and mares sprinting six furlongs on Oaklawn’s dirt track. A Grade 1 winner at two and three, she was second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) in November, then ran second as the favorite in the La Brea Stakes (G1) on December 28. The $800,000 purchase by Quality Road has since been waiting for races at Santa Anita, but ultimately shipped to Oaklawn for this. Trainer Simon Callaghan is at the helm for Kaleem Shah and Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.
Bellafina won her only start over the distance, but that was in the Sorrento Stakes (G2) at Del Mar in 2018. She had been routing over two turns in most of her starts but is a Grade 1 winner over seven furlongs.
In the event that someone outsprints her here, Mia Mischief could be dangerous from the outside. The daughter of Into Mischief races for Stonestreet Stables and trainer Steve Asmussen, and was second in this event last year. She has never been worse than second in five starts on this track, including three wins. She took the Grade 1 Humana Distaff at Churchill Downs last May, and kicked off 2020 with a big allowance score over this trip. Ricardo Santana, Jr will have the mount.
Amy’s Challenge will start at Oaklawn for the eighth time. She has three wins and six top three efforts over the surface, where she is a three-time stakes winner. She ran second behind Midnight Fantasy here February 29, but that was over shorter. McLean Robertson trains.
Midnight Fantasy drew alongside Bellafina. The Joe Sharp-trainee won the Spring Fever here in February, and was a Fair Grounds stakes winner in December but was ultimately disqualified from that win. The daughter of Midnight Lute is reunited with Martin Garcia for this, and worked a bullet half mile on April 18 in :46.2, the fastest move of 105 on the day.
Sunny Dale has won three in a row here since shipping in from California for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. She loses Garcia but picks up Joel Rosario, and offers value at 6-1 morning line. The Medaglia d’Oro filly runs for Michael Stinson.
What a Fox, Classy Act, and Lady Suebee complete the field.
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