It was exactly 52 Saturdays ago that trainer Simon Callaghan and jockey Flavien Prat teamed to win the GI Del Mar Debutante with ‘TDN Rising Star’ Moonshine Memories (Malibu Moon). The team was back at it on closing weekend at Del Mar, as Kaleem Shah’s Bellafina (Quality Road) made light work of four rivals to win the seven-furlong event in comfortable fashion.
Whereas the bay filly made every step of the running in breaking her maiden in the six-furlong GII Sorrento S. Aug. 5, she was content to take the sit from second and allowed ‘TDN Rising Star‘ Mother Mother (Pioneerof the Nile) to call the shots while never allowing that one to get too far away. Fellow ‘Rising Star’ Brill (Medaglia d’Oro) stalked outside that pair, but she had run her race fully three furlongs from home and it was between the top two for the final 2 1/2 panels. Mother Mother tried to battle on down towards the inside, but Bellafina always looked to be doing the better work of the two and, despite hanging on her incorrect lead for most of the stretch and in spite of a very slow final eighth of a mile, proved easily too good in the finish. Boujie Girl (Flashback) worked her way past Brill in the lane to pick up Grade I black-type in third.
A full-sister to MSW & MGSP Diamond King, Bellafina–the ninth Grade I winner for her sire–was bought back on a bid of $220,000 at last year’s Keeneland September sale, but blossomed over the next six months and was hammered down to Shah for $800,000 at this year’s Fasig-Tipton Florida Gulfstream Sale. Bellafina’s second dam was a Grade III winner sprinting on the grass and is responsible for Have At It (Kitten’s Joy), runner-up in Saratoga’s Better Talk Now S. Aug. 27. Bellafina’s yearling half-sister by Verrazano–who was represented by his first North American winner Saturday–is to be consigned by Four Star Sales as hip 621 to this year’s Keeneland September sale. Akron Moon was bred to Exaggerator last year, but did not produce a foal, and was most recently returned to Quality Road.