Her first visit to Churchill Downs didn’t turn out as expected, but Bellafina will attempt to earn way back there in May for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) as she kicks off her three-year-old campaign in the Sunday’s $200,000 Santa Ynez (G2) at Santa Anita.
The seven-furlong Santa Ynez is the first point-scoring opportunity of 2019 in the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series. Oaks qualifying points of 10-4-2-1 will be awarded to the top four finishers.
Last season’s leading juvenile filly on the West Coast following blowout wins in the Sorrento (G2), Del Mar Debutante (G1), and Chandelier (G1), Bellafina weakened to fourth as the 19-10 favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Churchill. She finished more than nine lengths behind the victorious Jaywalk. Bellafina was found to be in season after the race.
Her primary challenger on paper is Mother Mother, who was 4 1/4 lengths adrift of Bellafina in the Del Mar Debutante when they last met. Blinkers were subsequently added to Mother Mother’s equipment, and she captured the $103,000 Rags to Riches at Churchill and then was nailed late in the Starlet (G1) at Los Alamitos after setting the pace. She races without blinkers in the Santa Ynez.
Reflect was well beaten in the Juvenile Fillies and Golden Rod (G2) at Churchill after finishing a clear second in the Alcibiades (G1) at Keeneland for Keith Desormeaux. Tomlin invades from Northern California where she won the Golden Gate Debutante in November. Sold It, a turf maiden winner at Del Mar, weakened to fifth in the Starlet after making an early bid on Mother Mother.