HOT SPRINGS, AR – Jockey Joe Talamo was more than exuberant after riding Bellafina in her final major work on Saturday, describing the filly’s sharp Oaklawn Park effort as “Unbelievable” as she readies for a start in the local Carousel Stakes on April 25.

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After shipping from her southern California home on Tuesday, Bellafina jogged the track each morning leading up to Saturday, when Talamo rode her over 4 furlongs in :47.80. Her final 1/4-mile time was :23.60 and she galloped out 5 furlongs in 1:00.20.

“Unbelievable,” Talamo said. “Absolutely skipped over the track this morning.”

Simon Callaghan trains the 4-year-old daughter of Quality Road who has won six stakes in her career, all at the graded level and three being Grade 1s. She was second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (G1) before ending 2019 with another second, this time in the La Brea Stakes (G1).

Bellafina winning the 2019 Santa Anita Oaks (G1) (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Kaleem Shah purchased Bellafina for $800,000 as a 2-year-old, then eventually sold partial interest in her to the Coolmore triumvirate of Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith. She holds an overall record of 13-6-3-1 with $1,446,725 earned.

Bellafina was not the only Carousel contender to make the Oaklawn Park worktab Saturday morning, as Steve Asmussen trainee Mia Mischief covered 4 furlongs in 49.20. The 5-year-old daughter of Into Mischief was second in last year’s Carousel and made her 2020 return on March 20, defeating local allowance foes over the same course and distance as the Carousel.