October 20, 2021

Amalfi Sunrise flashes star potential in Sorrento

Amalfi Sunrise and jockey Norberto Arroyo Jr. win the Sorrento Stakes (G2) on August 3, 2019, at Del Mar © BENOIT PHOTO

Doug Branham and Marsha Naify’s Amalfi Sunrise ranked as the 3-5 favorite in Saturday’s $200,351 Sorrento (G2) on the strength of a debut romp. Justifying that status with another demolition job, the Simon Callaghan filly has marked herself as the top contender for the Del Mar Debutante (G1).

Callaghan turned the Sorrento/Del Mar Debutante double last year with Bellafina, who was in action earlier Saturday at Saratoga, finishing third in the Test (G1). It’s early to draw comparisons and contrasts, but Amalfi Sunrise has the pedigree to keep developing, as a daughter of the Tapit freshman Constitution and an Empire Maker mare.

With Norberto Arroyo Jr. back aboard, Amalfi Sunrise pressed Schuylerville (G3) winner Comical through an opening quarter in :22.50, flanked by Princess Mo. The dark bay wasn’t part of the scrum for long. As Princess Mo couldn’t keep up, and Comical began to retreat on the rail, Amalfi Sunrise burst clear at the half in :45.91. The only questions down the stretch were the margin of victory and the final time for six furlongs – six lengths, geared down, and 1:10.96 on the fast track.

Powerfulattraction, outpaced in last early, rallied for second. Shedaresthedevil, who appeared likely to give Callaghan the exacta in midstretch, was just nipped late and relegated to third. Shanghai Keely, Princess Mo, and Comical rounded out the order under the wire.

The Sorrento trifecta was furnished by WinStar freshman sires. Constitution was registering his second graded winner already, following By Your Side in the Sanford (G3). Powerfulattraction is by Commissioner, and Shedaresthedevil, as you might guess, is by Daredevil. Both Constitution and Commissioner also had a pair of maiden winners at Saratoga and Gulfstream Park Saturday. Constitution’s Our Country dominated on the Saratoga turf, while Commissioner’s Glory Road got up on the Spa’s main oval.

Amalfi Sunrise, a $40,000 Keeneland September yearling turned $185,000 OBS April juvenile, has earned $159,000. Her 6 1/4-length maiden victory at Santa Anita June 23 garnered a 101 Brisnet Speed rating. Bred by Jack Mandato in Kentucky, she is a half-sister to Dubai Group 3-placed Gotti and Panamanian stakes-placed Senatus. Their dam, Soot Z, is a daughter of Grade 2 winner Bella Chiarra.

Quotes from Del Mar

Winning trainer Simon Callaghan: “It really was impressive the way she drew away at the end. She’s a naturally fast filly and that’s the way she likes to run, up near the pace. She took a lot of heat and still was able to pull away which was very professional.”

Winning rider Norberto Arroyo Jr.: “Oh, I had a ton of horse. She’s a very nice filly. Maybe the best filly I’ve ever been on to this point, and I’ve been on some nice fillies. She’s something special.”

Jockey Joe Talamo on runner-up Powerfulattraction: “She broke good, settled and closed nicely. She’ll like seven-eighths. In fact, she’ll like it even farther. That’ll be even better for her.”

Drayden van Dyke, who rode Shedaresthedevil in third: “She gave it a good try. The winner is more than a little bit good. But my filly is a nice one and she’ll get better with distance.”