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Buena Vista Stakes 2024 | Santa Anita Park Picks
Bellabel (Benoit Photo)

Buena Vista Stakes 2024 | Santa Anita Park Picks

A sharp recent winner over the course, Phil D’Amato’s 5-year-old Irish-bred Bellabel heads a wide-open field of 11 older fillies and mares in Sunday’s Grade II, $200,000 Buena Vista Stakes at one mile over the Santa Anita Park turf.

First post time for a 10-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m.

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In first start in 14 ½ months, Bellabel, off as the 9-5 favorite among a field of seven fillies and mares, went to the front and never looked back going one mile on turf in the Grade III Megahertz at Santa Anita on Feb. 3 and figures tough right back with Flavien Prat aboard.

A winner of four of her six starts at one mile on grass, Belllabel has three stakes wins from her five starts, all stakes, since joining D’Amato’s stable more than two years ago.

Owned by Agave Racing Stable, CYBT, Michael Nentwig, et al, Bellabel, who had one win from five starts in Ireland, is 10-4-2-2 overall with earnings of $364,810.

Trained by Jonathan Thomas, Mouffy comes off a troubled second, beaten one length by Bellabel in the Megahertz and rates a huge chance when ridden by Frankie Dettori for the first time on Sunday.

An ungraded stakes winner at a mile and one sixteenth on turf at Ellis Park four starts back on Aug. 27 of last year, Mouffy, a 5-year-old Kentucky-bred mare by Uncle Mo out of the Smart Strike mare Truly Together, would appear to be comfortable with a stalking-type trip and who better to draw up a successful game plan than the legendary Dettori?

Owned by Augustin Stables, Mouffy has four wins and three seconds from nine career starts with earnings of $257,451.

Sixth, beaten 2 ¼ lengths by Bellabel in the Megahertz, Harris Farms’ homebred Closing Remarks is certainly capable of better and will try to turn the tables on the top pair with Juan Hernandez back to ride. 

Trained by Carla Gaines, the 6-year-old mare by Vronsky out of the Unusual Heat mare Orange Cove enjoyed her best year-ever in 2023, winning four of her 10 graded stakes engagements while banking $601,000.

With a 13-3-2-3 mark at one mile on turf, a fast pace would certainly be welcomed by the Closing Remarks camp as she bids for her sixth career stakes win. With an overall race record of 26-7-5-4, she has earnings of $1,000,320.

A close third going a mile and one sixteenth versus sophomore fillies in the Grade II Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Invitational Turf on Jan. 27 at Gulfstream Park, Richard Mandella’s Ruby Nell was a gate to wire winner at one mile on turf two starts back in Santa Anita Park’s ungraded Lady of Shamrock on Dec. 31 at odds of 1-10 and she took the Grade III Autumn Miss here in similar fashion by 3 ¼ lengths four starts back on Nov. 5.

Thus a two-time stakes winner at one mile on grass, Ruby Nell will be reunited with front-running ace Edwin Maldonado and rates a legitimate look as she faces tougher older company. 

Owned by Spendthrift Farm, LLC, Ruby Nell, a 4-year-old filly by Bolt d’Oro purchased for $1.2 million out of a 2-year-old in training sale, is now 11-5-2-2 overall with earnings of $371,520.


Race 10 of 10 | Approximate post time 5 p.m. PT

  1. Be Your Best—Umberto Rispoli—120
  2. Thirty Carats—Victor Espinoza—120
  3. Lucky Girl—Antonio Fresu—120
  4. Bellabel—Flavien Prat—122
  5. Kissed by Fire—Tiago Pereira—120
  6. Ruby Nell—Edwin Maldonado—122
  7. Justique—Mike Smith—120
  8. Closing Remarks—Juan Hernandez—124
  9. Lakota Spirit—Kazushi Kimura—120
  10. Nadette—Hector Berrios—120
  11. Mouffy—Lanfranco Dettori—120