Fresh off of a crushing 8 1/2 length victory at seven furlongs, owner Kaleem Shah's Bellafina heads a field of five sophomore fillies going one mile in Saturday's Grade II, $200,000 Las Virgenes Stakes at Santa Anita Park.
Chief among her rivals would appear to be the Doug O'Neill-trained Enaya Alrabb, who has been idle since finishing second to highly regarded Chasing Yesterday in the Grade I Starlet Stakes going 1 1/16 miles at Los Alamitos Dec. 8.
2019 Las Virgenes Stakes Odds & Entries
Race 5 on Santa Anita's Saturday card with a Post Time of 4:35 PM
|1||Calf Moon Bay||12-1||Joel Rosario
|2||Enaya Alrabb||4-1||Mike Smith
|4||Mother Mother||7-2||Drayden Van Dyke
With the only bad race on her six-race form a well beaten fourth place finish in the Grade I Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies two starts back on Nov. 2, this daughter of Quality Road bounced back with confidence in the Grade II Santa Ynez here on January 6, as she pressed the early pace and took complete command heading into the far turn en route to earning a lofty 95 Beyer Speed figure, the best of her career and easily the best Las Virgenes last-out speed figure.
"She's coming into this race great," said Simon Callaghan on a brisk Thursday morning that saw temperatures hovering just above freezing (36 degrees) at 6 a.m. "She hasn't missed any works and trained really well since her debut this year. We're looking forward to the race."
An $800,000 Fasig Tipton March 2-year-old in Training Sales graduate, Bellafina has been favored in four of her six starts and has won four of them. With Flavien Prat back in the irons, she's strictly the horse to beat as she gets back to two turns for the third time.
Owner: Kaleem Shah, Inc. | Trainer: Simon Callaghan
A Kentucky-bred daughter of Uncle Mo, she broke her maiden two starts back at the Las Virgenes distance on Oct. 25 and despite being ridden by "Big Money" Mike Smith, she was off at 30-1 in the Starlet at Los Alamitos on Dec. 8. Attentive to the pace throughout, she came up a head short while earning a career-top 82 Beyer Speed figure.
With Smith reengaged, Enaya Alrabb, who will be making her fourth career start, looks like the logical second choice and will hope to step forward in her first start of the year.
Owner: Enaya Racing | Trainer: Doug O'Neill