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SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Rudy Rodriguez trainee Bella Sofia powered away in the stretch for her first stakes score in Saturday’s $500,000 Longines Test Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
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Bella Sofia broke under Luis Saez from the far outside post 8 in the field of 3-year-old fillies and tracked just outside the rail-breaking Illumination, who posted opening fractions of :22.84 and :45.70.
After hanging back heading into the far turn, Bella Sofia re-engaged the leader while cornering and challenged for the lead by the top of the stretch.
Sweeping past Illumination inside the 3/16 pole, Bella Sofia drew off to win the 7-furlong fast dirt sprint by 4 1/4 lengths in 1:21.54.
“She broke perfectly. We were looking for that spot right there to sit and make a run into the stretch,” Saez said. “She did it so well and so beautifully. She came through the stretch pretty smoothly. I knew (Illumination) had some speed, so the plan was to break from there, relax, and make one move with her. She’s a pretty nice filly.”
Souper Sensational took second by 1 1/2 lengths over Search Results, the 8//5 favorite who struggled to rally after running near the rear early.
Always Carina won a three-horse photo for fourth by a neck and a nose over Obligatory and Illumination, respectively.
Zaajel and Make Mischief completed the order of finish.
Bella Sofia’s win was her second straight following a 6 1/2-length romp in a 6-furlong Belmont Park allowance-level sprint last month and improved her overall record to 4-3-1-0, with her lone defeat coming in the Jersey Girl at second asking. The Awesome Patriot filly, purchased for $20,000 as a juvenile, has now bankrolled $405,100 for co-owners Michael Imperio, Vincent Scuderi, Sofia Soares, Gabrielle Farm, Mazel Stable Partners, and Matthew Mercurio.
“The day she broke her maiden, she put everybody away impressively,” Rodriguez said. “She was training good. You know when you draw the outside, you pretty much just let the jockey figure out what they want to do. She broke better than anybody. I thought she was going to be out front when she broke that good. She was nice and comfortable and she was running very well for him, and when he asked her, she was there for him.”
Bella Sofia returned $10.40 to win, $5.70 to place, and $4 to show. Souper Sensational brought back $10.20 to place and $5 to show. Search Results paid $2.60 to show.
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