Top-level scorers Bellafina (Quality Road) and Mia Mischief (Into Mischief) will break from opposite ends of the gate Saturday at Oaklawn as the headliners of the Carousel S. A force to be reckoned with on the Santa Anita road to the GI Kentucky Oaks last spring, the bay has been winless since the GI Santa Anita Oaks in April, but finished off last term with a pair of strong seconds. Closing strongly to finish within 3/4 of a length of dual champion Covfefe (Into Mischief) in the GI Breeders’ Cup F/M Sprint Nov. 2, the $800,000 FTFMAR purchase completed the exacta behind ‘TDN Rising Star’ Hard Not to Love (Hard Spun) last time in Santa Anita’s GI La Brea S. Dec. 28.
“We were always going to try and bring her back in an easier spot than her last few races, which have been contentious Grade Is,” trainer Simon Callaghan told the Oaklawn notes team. “Kind of landed on this spot for obvious reasons. She’s doing really good. She looks like she’s getting over the track pretty well there.”
GI Humana Distaff heroine Mia Mischief skipped the World Championships and instead closed out last term with a facile score in Churchill’s Dream Supreme S. Nov. 1. Sent through the ring at Fasig-Tipton’s November Sale just days later, the former Heiligbrodt colorbearer was purchased by Stonestreet Stables for $2.4 million and returned to Steve Asmussen’s barn for another year of racing. The bay carried her new owner’s famed burgundy and gold silks to a decisive victory in her first start this year in a track-and-trip optional claimer Mar. 20.
The top two from the local Spring Fever S. Feb. 29, Midnight Fantasy (Midnight Lute) and Amy’s Challenge (Artie Schiller), both return in this spot, but are likely to chase the minor awards behind the heavy hitters. While Midnight Fantasy has done most of her best work against La-bred company, Amy’s Challenge has won multiple stakes against open company and most of them were over this track.