October 3, 2023

Bella Sofia faces elders in Gallant Bloom

Bella Sofia wins the Test Stakes (Photo by Coglianese Photos)

Gallant Bloom H. (G2) – Race 9 (5:16 p.m. ET)

After a smashing 4 1/4-length win in the Aug. 7 Test S. (G1) at Saratoga, Bella Sofia will square off against four older rivals in Sunday’s $250,000 Gallant Bloom H. (G2) at Belmont Park.

The 6 1/2-furlong race is a prep for the Nov. 6 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) at Del Mar.

Bella Sofia has won 3-of-4 career starts, including a pair of convincing wins over maiden special weight and entry-level allowance foes at Belmont, and the three-filly year-old filly has taken giant strides in her last two wins for Rudy Rodriguez. By Awesome Patriot, Bella Sofia will be forwardly placed from her rail post with Luis Saez.

Lake Avenue merits serious respect following her runner-up finish to Gamine in the Aug. 28 Ballerina (G1) at Saratoga. Trained by Bill Mott, the four-year-old Tapit filly has finished second in three consecutive graded sprint stakes, and the chestnut will seek to pounce from just off the pace with Jose Ortiz.

Lady Rocket invades with a two-race win streak for Brad Cox, most recently taking the Aug. 27 Pink Ribbon S. at Charles Town. The improving four-year-old figures to be part of the pace under Irad Ortiz Jr.

Don’t Call Me Mary switches back to open company for Todd Pletcher following a restricted stakes triumph at Parx. Multiple stakes queen Honor Way, a non-threatening second in last year’s Gallant Bloom, completes the field.