Leading West Coast-based Kentucky Oaks contender Bellafina tops a field of five in Saturday’s $200,000 Las Virgenes (G2) at Santa Anita. The classy three-year-old filly has been installed as the 2-5 favorite on the morning line and Flavien Prat rides for Simon Callaghan.
The one-mile Las Virgenes awards a total of 17 points to the top four finishers (10-4-2-1 scale) as part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series. Bellafina currently sits third in the standings with 22 points and with the Las Virgenes winner’s share, she would surpass two-year-old filly champion Jaywalk, who heads the Leaderboard with 30 points.
Owned by Kaleem Shah, Bellafina will stretch back out to two turns following a spectacular 8 1/2-length win in the seven-furlong Santa Ynez (G2) at Santa Anita on January 6, registering a field-best last-out BRIS Speed rating of 98. She recorded three convincing graded wins last year, including the 1 1/16-mile Chandelier (G1) at Santa Anita in late September, and her only stakes setback has been a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) at Churchill Downs.
The daughter of Quality Road was purchased for $800,000 at the 2018 Fasig-Tipton Florida March two-year-old sale and Bellafina has earned $708,000 from a 6-4-1-0 record so far.
A neck third in the Starlet (G1) at Los Alamitos in early December, Mother Mother wound up showing speed from her innermost post in the Santa Ynez but proved no match weakening to second in the latter stages. By Pioneerof the Nile, sire of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Mother Mother is eligible to switch tactics from post 4 beneath Drayden Van Dyke. She’s trained by three-time Kentucky Oaks winner Bob Baffert.
Enaya Alrabb outperformed her 30-1 odds finishing a neck second in the Starlet and will try to carry her form forward in her three-year-old opener. Mike Smith rides the Uncle Mo filly for Doug O’Neill.
Calf Moon Bay will try stakes company following wins over maiden special weight and entry-level allowance foes at Los Alamitos and Santa Anita. Joel Rosario takes over the reins for Jerry Hollendorfer. Golden Gate Fields stakes winner and Santa Ynez third-placer Tomlin completes the field.