After finishing fifth in her graded stakes debut, Phillips Racing Partnership's Bellavais will try to return to her stakes-winning form when she faces an expected seven other 3-year-old fillies in the $100,000 Soaring Softly Stakes May 20 on the Belmont Park turf.
Trained by Jimmy Toner, Bellavais showed determination when she opened her season with a victory in the Ginger Brew Stakes Jan. 7 on the Gulfstream Park turf, a race where she was struck by a rival's whip when she tried to pass India Mantuana and jockey Leonel Reyes. Bellavais initially responded by trying to savage the offending piece of equipment before refocusing and surging to victory.
In her graded stakes debut, Bellavais finished fifth in the Appalachian Stakes presented by Japan Racing Association (G3T) April 13 at Keeneland, but the daughter of Tapit may have needed that race.
"She's doing really well and ran well at Keeneland. I just laid her up and freshened her up a bit and she needed a race," Toner said. "I was well satisfied with it."
WINCZE HUGHES: Tiny, Mighty Bellavais No Pushover
The Ginger Brew marked the stakes debut for Bellavais. At 7 1/2 furlongs, the Ginger Brew is a similar distance to Saturday's Soaring Softly.
"She's really tough. She got hit in the nose by the whip, and she threw her head up and got mad and tried to bite it," Toner said with a laugh. "She handled firm or soft ground because she's pretty consistent. I think the distance suits her and she breezed nice last weekend, so she's good to go. At seven-eighths it's not too complicated."
Bellavais is not the only Ginger Brew starter entered in the Soaring Softly, as Sheep Pond Partners, Newport Stables, and Head of Plains Partners' Lady Alexandra finished third in that January race, just two lengths behind Bellavais. Rested by trainer Chad Brown, the daughter of More Than Ready came back with a clear victory May 3 in an allowance race on the Belmont inner turf despite racing wide throughout.
Lull, trained by Christophe Clement, will receive class relief after three straight graded stakes starts, including a fourth-place effort in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) Nov. 4 at Santa Anita Park. Following a freshening, Lull faded to seventh in the Appalachian, but the War Front filly will be returning to non-graded stakes for the first time since winning the Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies Sept. 3 at Kentucky Downs.
"She's doing great," Clement said. "She came out of Kentucky and she's been training at Belmont. She likes it here. She's not a complicated horse to ride. She has speed, so seven-eighths of a mile should be just fine."
Grade 2-placed Jamyson 'n Ginger, for trainer Rudy Rodriguez, is entered for the main track only.
Belmont Park, Saturday, May 20, 2017, Race 7
- 3 yo Fillies
- 4:17 PM (local)
|1||1Lucky Long (KY)||Cornelio H. Velasquez||115||Anthony W. Dutrow||15/1|
|2||2Team of Teams (KY)||Paco Lopez||117||James A. Jerkens||5/1|
|3||3Bellavais (KY)||Manuel Franco||117||James J. Toner||5/1|
|4||4Lady Alexandra (KY)||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||117||Chad C. Brown||7/2|
|5||5Morticia (KY)||Jose Lezcano||117||George R. Arnold, II||3/1|
|6||6Con Te Partiro (KY)||Mario G. Pino||121||Wesley A. Ward||6/1|
|7||7Jamyson 'n Ginger (KY)||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||115||Rudy R. Rodriguez||4/5|
|8||8Lull (KY)||Kendrick Carmouche||121||Christophe Clement||6/1|
|9||9Happy Mesa (KY)||Eric Cancel||117||H. Graham Motion||8/1|