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Spring Fever Preview: Bella Vita’s Big Return
Bella Vita (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

Spring Fever Preview: Bella Vita’s Big Return

ARCADIA, CA – Absent for the past 9 months, Kaleem Shah’s Bella Vita makes her big return to the races in Sunday’s $100,000 Spring Fever Stakes at Santa Anita Park.

The Spring Fever is a 6-furlong dirt sprint restricted to California-bred fillies and mares ages 4 and up. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 9-race card and has a local post time of 4:20 PM.

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Here’s a look at the full field for the Spring Fever:

1. Cassie Belle 6/1 – It took her 9 tries to break her maiden, doing so in a 5 1/2-furlong sprint over the local lawn last October. She backed up that effort winning a 1-mile local allowance score against her own kind in December and was most recently runner-up by a head over the same course against open company rivals, but her only dirt try was a fourth on debut.

2. Hotitude 7/2 – She defeated open company allowance rivals over this course and distance in January but failed to have the same success against a slightly higher class 2 weeks ago. Trainer Kristin Mulhall also bred and co-owns a mare still looking for her first stakes score; her best effort was a runner-up finish routing at Los Al in the 2018 Soviet Problem Stakes.

3. Dr Wysong 10/1 – She hit the board in 3 of 4 starts since Isidro Tamayo claimed her for $20k last September, though her only time missing was the lone attempt on dirt. She broke her maiden over this course and distance 24 months ago, then defeated optional claimers going 6 furlongs on Del Mar’s dirt 4 months later, but that was her last victory.

4. She’s a Dime 6/1 – She was a strong gate-to-wire winner going 7 furlongs here on January 31 against state-bred optional claimers under bug jockey Alexis Centeno, who retains the mount for the fourth straight start. Trainer Doug O’Neill wins 19% when Centeno rides for his barn, but this is a major class test; 10 of her 16 starts came while risked for a tag.

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5. Hollywood Hills 4/1 – She gives the local dirt a try for the first time after finishing well off the board on the grass in the 2020 Fran’s Valentine Stakes and the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint in her past 2 starts. She won the 2019 Fleet Treat Stakes at Del Mar and sire Hoorayforhollywood is a half-brother to the 2020 Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner Honor A. P.

6. Square Peggy 5/1 – She steps up to the stakes level for the second time and the first since finishing second in the 2018 Barrett’s Debutante Stakes against fellow local sales graduates. Half of her career has been spent on turf and synthetic, but she has a 13-4-1-2 dirt record.

7. Bella Vita 2/1 – The morning line favorite makes her first start since finishing second by a 1/2-length in the Evening Jewel Stakes over this course and distance last May. That was her dirt debut after she put together a 3-1-1-1 turf record that includes a third in the open company China Doll Stakes; the winner, Warren’s Showtime, is in Saturday’s Buena Vista Stakes (G2).

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