News and STORIES

Bellafina Heading To Arkansas For Carousel Stakes

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Friday April 24, 2020
The 4-year-old filly Bellafina will be heading to Arkansas to run against seven fillies and mares in the $125,000 Carousel Stakes at Oaklawn April 25. The three-time grade 1 winner had to make a change due to the suspension of racing at Santa Anita Park. 

The daughter of Quality Road is owned by Kalem Shah, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith. She has 12 career starts and unplaced three times. 

On the Road

All of the 4-year-old filly's off-the-board finishes came outside of her home base of California. In one other start outside of the state, she finished third. 

Ballafina's record in the state is six wins and three seconds from nine starts.

"I really don't believe it has anything to do with traveling because she's an absolute pro and handles all of that well," California-based trainer Simon Callaghan said. "It's that she was running in top races not at her best distances. 

"I think she's more of a sprinting filly and every time she traveled, except for the Test at seven-eighths, she ran a mile-and-an-eighth or a mile-and-a-sixteenth.

"All things considered, we probably would stayed at Santa Anita and raced there, but at the moment, going to Oaklawn seemed like the right thing to do."

Outside of California, the filly finished fourth in Parx Racing's Cotillion Stakes (G1) at 1 1/16-miles, fifth in Churchill Downs' Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) at 1 1/8 miles, and fourth at Churchill Downs again in the Tito's Handmade Vodka Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at 1 1/16 miles. 

While on the road, she went up against Covfefe, a dual champion of the 3-year-old filly and female sprinter divisions. In the Longines Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga Race Course, she finished third by 9 1/4 lengths. 

The Carousel Stakes

The field for the Carousel Stakes will include grade 1-winner Mia Mischief and grade 1-placed Amy's Challenge. 

It will be Bellafina's first start since Dec. 28.

"Her last two races were fantastic, even though she was second. This is a slightly easier spot than those, but it's definitely not an easy spot," Callaghan said.

The filly was purchased for $800,000 at 2, and finished three-quarters-of-a-length behind Covfefe in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) to close out her 3-year-old season. She also finished 2 1/4 lengths behind Hard Not to Love in the La Brea Stakes (G1). 

Those races took place at Santa Anita Park.

Bellafina was bred by JSM Equine out of the Malibu Moon mare Akron Moon, and she was purchased at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Florida Select 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale from the Wavertree consignment. 

On April 25, she will break from the rail with jockey Joe Talamo.

Mia Mischief

The biggest competition for Bellafina will likely come from Mia Mischief, who has won three races and taken second twice in five career starts for trainer Steve Asmussen. 

Mia Mischief finished second in last year's edition of the Carousel and then took a 4 1/2-month break before returning March 20 to take a 2 1/4-length victory in a six-furlong allowance optional claiming race at Oaklawn. 

She won the 2019 Human Distaff Stakes (G1) at Churchill Downs, following her performance at the Carousel. 

Mia Mischief will be joined by Ricardo Santana Jr. as jockey, the leading rider at Oaklawn with 48 wins. She will carry 122 pounds, five less than Bellafina and Amy's Challenge. 

The 5-year-old daughter of Into Mischief was purchased for $2.4 million from the ELiTE consignment at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Fall Mixed Sale by Stonestreet Stables. 

The rest of the field includes Midnight Fantasy, Sunny Dale, What a Fox, Classy Act, Amy's Challenge, and Lady Suebee. 

The Carousel will be the 10th race on the card on April 25.