Bellafina adds blinkers, said to be handling track for Cotillion try

Parx Racing Notes
September 20, 2019 04:51pm
Bellafina adds blinkers, said to be handling track for Cotillion try
Photo: Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO

Kaleem Shah’s multiple Grade 1 winner Bellafina spent two days settling in at Parx Racing after shipping from Southern California for her start in Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Cotillion Stakes. 

The Simon Callaghan trainee will make her fourth consecutive Grade 1 start Saturday. She’s taken several laps of the 1-mile Parx ovals in her two morning training sessions, galloping and jogging under the supervision of assistant trainer Carlos Santamaria.

“We got here on Wednesday,” Santamaria said. “She travels pretty well. She handled the track pretty good, both yesterday and today. She just galloped and went easy, and she’s done really well. She seems like she’s pretty happy and likes the track and everything.”

Santamaria and members of Callaghan’s team readied the Quality Road filly for a visit to the paddock late Friday morning for schooling, but skipped a trip to the starting gate unlike others who arrived this week for Saturday stakes engagements.

“I don’t like to take them to the starting gate,” Santamaria said. “Because she’s running a mile and a sixteenth, you don’t want to get her too sharp and get her to run off or something like that. She’s OK with that.”

Bellafina began her career as a winner first-out then stepped up and captured the Grade 2 Sorrento at Del Mar. She then rattled off two straight Grade 1 wins in the Del Mar Debutante and Chandelier at Santa Anita Park. The Kentucky-bred ended her 2-year-old year with a fourth as the favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs.

Bellafina started her 3-year-old season strong with three victories beginning with the Grade 2 Santa Ynez at Santa Anita, then the Grade 2 Las Virgenes before a 5 1/4-length win in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks. She finished fifth as the favorite in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs, 8 lengths behind Cotillion rival Serengeti Empress, before a resolute third in the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga. 

The earner of $1,162,125 from 10 starts will return with blinkers in the Cotillion. She hasn’t worn them since her third career start in the Del Mar Debutante. Callaghan removed them for her next start in the Chandelier. 

“She’s going to run back with blinkers again so that’s going to help a lot and hopefully it will keep her closer on Saturday,” Santamaria said. “It’s a speed track but I’ve heard a lot of people talking about how the track has been deep lately, and the track might be a little more even for everybody tomorrow. The blinkers will help keep her a little closer and a little more honest.”

2019 Cotillion (G1)


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