Bella Sofia Takes On Elders in Gallant Bloom

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Bella Sofia | Sarah Andrew

The once-defeated 3-year-old filly Bella Sofia (Awesome Patriot) looms a short-priced favorite facing four older females in Sunday's GII Gallant Bloom H. at Belmont Park.

A smashing 11 1/4-length winner of a local six-furlong maiden May 6, the $20,000 OBS June graduate yielded late to be second to then-unbeaten Australasia (Sky Kingdom) in the June 6 Jersey Girl S. The dark bay returned to winning ways, scoring by 6 1/2 length in a first-level allowance over this surface July 11 and came from just off a moderate tempo to dust her peers by 4 1/4 lengths in the GI Longines Test S. at Saratoga Aug. 7.

“The Test was a huge, huge win for us, because we don't have these kinds of horses in the barn,” said trainer Rudy Rodriguez. “To win a Grade I at Saratoga, especially a prestigious race like the Test, everything was amazing. We're still dreaming.”

The progressive Lake Avenue (Tapit) hopes to end an unlucky streak of seconditis while giving her younger rival two pounds Sunday afternoon. The 2019 GII Demoiselle S. heroine, the daughter of dual Grade I winner Seventh Street (Street Cry {Ire}) took out the one-mile Heavenly Prize Invitational S. earlier this year, but has rounded out the exacta in the GIII Bed O'Roses S., the GII Honorable Miss S. and the GI Ballerina H. in her three most recent starts.

Don't Call Me Mary (El Padrino) handed Chub Wagon (Hey Chub) her first career defeat in the Dr. Teresa Garofalo Memorial S. at Parx Aug. 23, a performance that looks a bit better within the context of Chub Wagon's bounce-back victory in Saturday's Roamin Rachel S. on the Pennsylvania Derby undercard in suburban Philly.

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