June 22, 2024

Bellafina back in favorable surroundings for Desert Stormer

Bellafina has posted a 5-4-1-0 record at Santa Anita Park on January 6, 2019 (c) Cecilia Gustavsson/Horsephotos.com

Sunday’s $100,000 Desert Stormer (G3) at Santa Anita offers a mulligan opportunity for the multiple Grade 1-winning Bellafina, who disappointed last month in her season debut in the Carousel S. at Oaklawn Park.

The 7-5 favorite in the Carousel, Bellafina broke last from post 1 and then rushed into contention around the far turn before fading to finish fourth, 10 lengths adrift of Mia Mischief.

“I think it’s just a race you have to draw a line through,” trainer Simon Callaghan said. “Nothing really went right, but she’s come back and we know she loves Santa Anita. Flavien breezed her and said she felt as good as ever.”

While her form outside Southern California has been less than stellar, Bellafina has won four times and finished second twice from six starts over the Santa Anita strip.

Mother Mother has yet to win a graded stakes but stands a strong chance in the 6-furlong Desert Stormer following a second-place finish behind Hard Not to Love in the Feb. 15 Santa Monica (G2).

Fighting Mad will attempt to fire fresh returning from a layoff dating to Aug. 17, when she dominated the Torrey Pines (G3) at Del Mar by eight lengths. Making her second start of the term is First Star, who’s best previous try in stakes company was a second in the Raven Run (G2) in October.

Another interesting mare back from an extended spell is Amuse, unraced in more than a year after finishing up the track in the 2019 Las Flores (G3). She had previously won two of her three prior attempts on the main track for trainer Dick Mandella.