Chilean-bred Isola Piu Bella notched her second North American graded stakes victory this year when she drew off for a two-length win in Saturday's $250,000 Sixty Sails Handicap (gr. III) at Hawthorne.
The victory gave trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey John Velazquez a sweep of the graded stakes races on Hawthorne's card. They won the National Jockey Club Handicap (gr. III) with Pollard's Vision earlier.
Velazquez positioned Isola Piu Bella in mid-pick on the outside as Injustice set the pace. Isola Piu Bella challenged the leaders on the turn for home and took command in the stretch, drawing off while kept to the task to defeat Rare Gift in a time of 1:49 2/5 for the 1 1/8-mile event for fillies and mares.
Rare Gift, ridden by Joe Bravo, was five lengths clear of Ghostly Gate (Chris Emigh), who edged 9-5 choice Personal Legend (Jerry Bailey) by a neck for third.
Rare Gift did not threaten the winner. Personal Legend improved her position after a poor break.
Injustice, the 7-2 third choice, faded to sixth after posting fractions of :23 1/5, :46 4/5, and 1:11 3/5.
Owned by Sumaya Us Stables, Isola Piu Bella is a 5-year-old mare by Rich Man's Gold-Sweet Music. A multiple group I winner in her native country, she won the Sabin Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park Feb. 26, before posting a second-place finish in the Rampart Handicap (gr. II) in her last start March 26.
"I'll tell you what, she's a nice filly," Velazquez said. "She will do anything you want. The first time she ran here in this country she ran a huge race after a year layoff and then came back and repeated the race her next start. She was on cruising speed the whole time. I wish they were all like her."
She paid $6.80, $3.80, and $3.40 as the second choice. Rare Gift returned $6.40 and $5.20. Ghostly Gate was $6 to show.
Bailey felt the off-going may have gotten to Personal Legend. "She didn't want to go into the gate and she didn't show near the aggressiveness she showed in the past. She has always been very aggressive behind horses but today she wasn't. You have to assume when horses don't perform the way they always do that they didn't really like the track."