Bellafina punches Breeders' Cup ticket with easy Chandelier score
Courtesy of Steve Andersen of DRF.com
ARCADIA, Calif. – Bellafina won the Grade 1 Chandelier Stakes for 2-year-old fillies by 6 1/2 lengths on Saturday, drawing away from four rivals in a manner that left jockey Flavien Prat eager for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2.
Bellafina won her third consecutive race in the $300,000 Chandelier, and her second consecutive Grade 1. On Sept. 1, Bellafina won the Grade 1 Del Mar Debutante by 4 1/4 lengths in a relatively slow 1:25.51 for seven furlongs.
In the Chandelier, Bellafina pulled clear of the field in early stretch and did so after showing a more patient style while following pacesetter Vibrance, who held second in her stakes debut.
Bellafina ($3.80) was timed in 1:144.59 for 1 1/16 miles.
“It went great,” Prat said. “She was pretty aggressive last time. They took the blinkers off and she was much better than Del Mar.”
Trained by Simon Callaghan, Bellafina earned a fees-paid berth for the BC Juvenile Fillies with Saturday’s win.
Bellafina was never far from Vibrance, who led by 1 1/2 lengths through an opening quarter-mile in 22.88 seconds. Bellafina was within a half-length of Vibrance after a half-mile in 46.51 before taking the lead on the turn. Bellafina led by 4 1/2 lengths with a furlong remaining.
“The way it went, she rated much better and did everything right,” Prat said. “I’m feeling better. She won last time, but I was kind of worried about the way she did it.”
Vibrance finished 4 1/2 lengths clear of Brill, who was followed by Der Lu and Del Mar May. The field was spread out over 31 lengths at the wire.
Vibrance (9-1) will be considered for the BC Juvenile Fillies, trainer Michael McCarthy said immediately after the race. Vibrance won a maiden special weight at a mile by 5 1/4 lengths in her second start at Del Mar on Aug. 29, which led to the start in the Chandelier.
McCarthy said he was surprised to see Vibrance on the lead under jockey Joel Rosario.
“I thought she ran super,” McCarthy said. “I thought there might be a target, but she broke running.
“Joel was able to get her to settle on the backstretch. No disgrace to running second in a Grade 1 to what I think is the best 2-year-old filly in the country.”
Bellafina, by Quality Road, is owned by Kaleem Shah and was purchased for $800,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream Sale in March.
Bellafina has won 3 of 4 starts and earned $488,000. She was second in her debut at Los Alamitos on July 4 and won for the first time in her career in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes at six furlongs at Del Mar on Aug. 5.
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