The greys are coming out in a force this 2011, and just
before the year was about to turn over another silver grey lass put herself on
the watch list. Ciao Bella debuted this past Sunday, the 18th, in
Breaking a bit slowly, the daughter of Giants Causeway was
forced to steady behind rivals, as the field ran up the Gulfstream Park chute.
With the pace was moderate and with a half mile left Ciao Bella was nearly four
lengths behind the leader in last, in a paceless race. If there is one place
you don’t want to be at Gulfstream Park, a very speed biased track, it is in
the back of the pack.
Rounding the turn Ciao Bella launched her bid, weaving in
and out of traffic, looking like a pro, despite her lack of experience. At the
quarter pole, the filly was in third place with only half a length separating
her from the leader, but by the time they reached the stretch her devastating kick
had her three lengths in front.
Through the length of the stretch she galloped, making what
looked to be a disastrous trip and an impossible scenario look all too easy.
Under mild urging, Ciao Bella continued to draw away, under Johnny Valasquez,
hitting the wire in a temped one minute, 38 2/5th seconds.
While the time may be slow, one has to consider the pace
that developed in front of Ciao Bella was slow, making the task of running a
quick final time a difficult task, especially when factoring in all the traffic
she had to weave through. Instead of being fooled by the final time, one should
look at the final eighth mile, which she ran in 12 seconds flat, while under
cruise control. The final quarter also was timed in 24.66, faster than the
first quarter of the race. This also means that Ciao Bella ran her second to
last eighth in 12 and a half seconds, meaning her final furlong was faster than
her second to last.
Also, one must be impressed with the closing kick she
utilized over such a speed biased track. Gulfstream in notorious for producing
big winners that come from the front end. This filly came from last, weaving
through traffic, looking like an old veteran, when she was only making her
It was an impressive start from the Todd Pletcher trainee,
adding another nice looking two year old to his army of impressive juveniles,
heading into 2012. Keep an eye on this one. She has the looks, looks like she
has the talent, and she has the pedigree to give her a big shot at the Kentucky Oaks, this coming May.