A six-month layoff? No problem for Bella Sofia .
The 4-year-old daughter of Awesome Patriot showed a glimmer of returning to the form that saw her annex the 2021 Longines Test Stakes (G1) and Gallant Bloom Handicap (G2) in dazzling fashion when edging a determined Frank’s Rockette in a spirited stretch duel in the May 14 $150,000 Vagrancy Handicap (G3) at Belmont Park.
“(Bella Sofia is) a very gutsy filly,” said trainer Rudy Rodriguez. “She’s been doing very good in the morning. She’s been galloping out seven-eighths to a mile the two times she worked before her last work, so I knew she was fit. She’s a special filly. It’s good when they dig in like that.”
Off her dominating Test and Gallant Bloom performances, Bella Sofia entered the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) as the rising star that would conquer defending champion Gamine on race day. However, after briefly challenging for the lead at the half-mile marker, the filly faltered and turned in the unquestioningly worst performance of her career in the Breeders’ Cup when checking in fourth, five lengths behind the triumphant Ce .
Reunited with regular rider Luis Saez, Bella Sofia rated just off pacesetter Miss Brazil through an opening quarter-mile in :22.67. With chief rival Frank’s Rockette tucked along the rail in third, Bella Sofia floated up to Miss Brazil into the far turn, striking the front with a half-mile run in :45.68. Turning for home, Frank’s Rockette charged through a seam with a quarter mile left to run and pounced on Bella Sofia. The two mares engaged each other down the length of the Belmont stretch, with Bella Sofia nosing out Frank’s Rockette at the wire under a confident Saez.
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“I knew I had it,” Saez said. “(Bella Sofia) was coming off the layoff and I didn’t want to take too much from her. We knew she’s a grade 1 winner and a great filly. She did what she was supposed to do.”
Assertive Style the early trailer, got up for third.
Favored at 2-5 odds, Bella Sofia clocked the 6 1/2 furlongs on a fast main track in 1:16.02.
Bella Sofia, scooped up for only $20,000 at the 2020 Ocala Breeders’ Sale Company July Sale of Two-year-olds & Horses of Racing Age Sale, was facing a formidable and more seasoned rival in Frank Fletcher’s Frank’s Rockette. An earner of over $950,000, only added to her string of seconds in the Vagrancy. TheInto Mischief mare placed in both the Dec. 18 Sugar Swirl Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park and April 2 Carousel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
“I couldn’t be disappointed with that,” said trainer Bill Mott of Frank’s Rockette. “She had a beautiful trip and ran her heart out. I think she gave us everything she had.”
Owned in partnership by Michael Imperio, Medallion Racing, Sofia Soares, Vincent Scuderi, and Parkland Thoroughbreds, a return to Saratoga for the Aug. 28 Ballerina Stakes (G1) could be on the horizon for Bella Sofia.
“The Breeders’ Cup (Filly and Mare Sprint) is the ultimate goal,” Scuderi said. “We were going to go in the Bed o’ Roses (June 10 at Belmont), but Rudy said she was ready so we ran her now. We want to space her out and we have big goals for her going forward.”
Bred in Kentucky by Two Tone Farms, Bella Sofia is out of the stakes-placed Consolidator mare Love Contract, who has an unraced 2-year-old colt by VE Day.
Video: Vagrancy H. (G3)
Drafted Rolls by Chateau Late in Runhappy Stakes
Two months after breaking through with his first graded stakes score on North American soil, Drafted came rolling late to nab the front-running Chateau at the line in the May 14 $150,000 Runhappy Stakes (G3).
Drafted rallies late to win the Runhappy Stakes at Belmont Park
Drafted, a former group stakes winner in Dubai, was cutting back in trip in the Run happy, where his connections hoped the pace-reliant closer would get the fast tempo he needed to set him up for his late run. Alas, it was quite the opposite when the gates opened and graded stakes winner Chateau paved the way unchallenged through moderate early fractions of :22.61 and :45.57.
“I was a little worried when the pace didn’t develop like I thought.” said jockey Jose Ortiz. “Chateau broke really well and Repo Rocks didn’t, so Chateau was able to get away with an easy lead. He went fast enough, but by himself, which was good for him. I’m happy we were able to run him down.”
Things became precarious in the turn for home when the left rein suddenly snapped on Beast Mode Racing’s Answer In . Jockey Flavien Pratt aboard Answer In, riding with one rein, managed to avert disaster as the pair drifted seven wide into the lane, easing up before being corralled by the outrider.
Meanwhile, Ortiz angled Drafted six-wide around the bend and fixed his aim on a free-wheeling Chateau. Grinding away, Drafted caught the leg-weary chateau in the final yards, kicking away to a one-length tally. Officiating made a mild bid down the stretch to claim third, 3/4 of a length behind Chateau. Favored Repo Rocks was a distant fourth.
Drafted raced the six furlongs in 1:10.84. The son of Field Commission paid $8.60 for a $2 win ticket.
“At the three-sixteenths pole I was a little concerned, but I knew he had momentum and dead aim on him,” said trainer David Duggan. “Jose rides him with so much confidence.”
Racing for the colors of Dublin Fjord Stables, Racepoint Stables, Kevin Hilbert, and Thomas O’Keefe, Drafted collected the eighth win of his 27-start career for earnings of $939,193.
The Florida-bred gelding Drafted is the only stakes winner produced by the Darn That Alarm mare Keep the Profit, the dam of seven winners from nine progeny to run. Drafted was bred by John Foster, Barbara Hooker, and Field Commission Partnership and has passed through the auction ring three times. After failing to meet his reserve at the 2015 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company August Yearling Sale, trainer Eoin Harty signed the ticket for the gray a year later at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company March Sale of two-year-olds in Training for $45,000 when he was offered by Kim Harrison’s consignment. He later sold to Brian Gleason for $10,982 at the 2017 Godolphin Racing in Dubai September Sale before being purchased privately by his current ownership group.
Video: Runhappy S. (G3)