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ARCADIA, CA – In a thoroughly dominant performance, Kaleem Shah’s Bella Vita, idle since May 16, made short work of six rivals as she powered to a 4 1/2-length win in Sunday’s $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes at Santa Anita.
Ridden by Flavien Prat, the California-bred filly by Shah’s 2014 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Bayern got 6 furlongs in 1:10.33.
Breaking alertly from her outside post position, Bella Vita looked to be in control the entire trip as she sat a measured fourth, about 2 lengths off the lead 3 1/2 furlongs from home.
With Square Peggy rushing up on her outside, Bella Vita shifted out and, in an eye-catching move, collared her approaching the 1/4 pole and drew off to win in-hand with her ears pricked.
“One thing about this filly, she’s very tractable,” said Callaghan. “(Prat) said she’s very push button. You can put her wherever you want, and I think when you have that tactical speed but you relax, it’s nice for the jockeys so they can put her wherever she wants (to be).”
A close second in the 6-furlong Evening Jewel Stakes May 16, Bella Vita was pounded down to 1/5 and paid $2.60, $2.20, and $2.10.
“Bayern certainly brings back lots of memories and this filly, she was bred by John Sikura and I’m so happy for John,” said Shah, who ponied up $400,000 to purchase Bella Vita out of a 2-year-old in training sale in April of 2019. “I hope that this filly, along with many other progenies of Bayern, go on to bigger and better things.”
A runaway 5 1/2-furlong turf maiden winner in her second start on February 16, 2020, Bella Vita, who is out of the Storm Cat mare Queenie Cat, is now 5-2-2-1 and with the winner’s share of $60,000, increased her earnings to $146,996.
Ridden by Alexis Centeno for Doug O’Neill, She’s a Dime was second best, finishing 1 3/4 lengths in front of longshot Dr Wysong. Off at 8/1, She’s a Dime paid $4.40 and $2.80.
Off at 22/1, Dr Wysong rallied wide under Abel Cedillo and paid $4.40 to show while finishing 1 1/2 lengths in front of Cassie Belle.
Fractions on the race were 22.70, 45.91, and 57.95.
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