Magnifica! In Italian Wires Just a Game

In Italian | Sarah Andrew

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ELMONT, NY — Peter Brant's 'TDN Rising Star' In Italian (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) took her customary spot on the front end and never looked back en route to a dominating 3 3/4-length wire-to-wire tally as the 1-5 favorite in Friday's GI Just a Game S. at Belmont Park. Last year's GI Del Mar Oaks heroine and G1 Coronation S. runner-up Spendarella (Karakontie {Jpn}) was second; Wakanaka (Ire) (Power {GB}) was third.

In Italian left the gate from her rail draw running beneath Irad Ortiz, Jr. and led through an opening quarter in a hard-to-believe :24.47 while kept well off the inside. Under a snug hold heading into the far turn, the chestnut was still going easy as the five-horse field bunched up approaching the top of the stretch. In Italian switched over to her right lead right on cue after a couple of taps on her right shoulder from Ortiz and she put on a show from there to collect her fourth career Grade I victory in style.

Third in this race last year behind her former stablemate and the commonly owned champion Regal Glory (Animal Kingdom), In Italian concluded her 2022 season with wins in the GI Diana S. at Saratoga, the GI First Lady S. at Keeneland and a game second-place finish in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf in Lexington. In Italian kicked off her 5-year-old campaign with a front-running victory in Keeneland's GI Jenny Wiley S. Apr. 15.

“She got a nice, easy quarter and then she was off the rail and in control,” winning trainer Chad Brown said after saddling his sixth Just a Game winner in seven years. “I think that was the end of it there.”

Brant added, “She's probably as good as anyone we've ever had, and that's saying something.”

Brown and Brant both added that a title defense in the July 15 Diana could be next.

Pedigree Notes:

In Italian is one of 166 graded/group winners worldwide for leading sire Dubawi. In Italian's group-winning dam Florentina has an unraced 4-year-old gelding named Spanish Empire (GB) (Kingman {GB}) in Great Britain and an unraced filly named Fiorenza (Aus) by that same sire foaled in 2020. Spanish Empire was purchased by Tom Magnier for A$1.8m at the Magic Millions Gold Coast yearling sale in 2021. Fiorenza brought A$650,000 at the 2020 Inglis Chairman's Sale. The 15-year-old mare Florentina, a half-sister to Australian Group 1 winner Gathering (Aus) (Tale of the Cat), was barren to Pierro (Aus) in 2021 and 2022.

Friday, Belmont Park
JUST A GAME S.-GI, $485,000, Belmont, 6-9, 4yo/up, f/m, 1mT, 1:34.00, fm.
1–IN ITALIAN (GB), 124, m, 5, by Dubawi (Ire)
                1st Dam: Florentina (Aus) (GSW-Aus, $250,958),
                                by Redoute's Choice (Aus)
                2nd Dam: Celebria (Aus), by Peintre Celebre
                3rd Dam: Twyla (Aus), by Danehill
'TDN Rising Star'. (475,000gns Ylg '19 TATOCT). O-Peter M.
Brant; B-Fairway Thoroughbreds (GB); T-Chad C. Brown; J-Irad
Ortiz, Jr. $275,000. Lifetime Record: 11-7-3-1, $1,910,308.
Werk Nick Rating: B+.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
Click for the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Spendarella, 124, f, 4, by Karakontie (Jpn)
1st Dam: Spanish Bunny, by Unusual Heat
2nd Dam: Spanish Beam, by El Gran Senor
3rd Dam: Solar Beam, by Majestic Light
($220,000 Ylg '20 KEESEP). O/B-Gainesway Thoroughbreds Ltd.
(NY); T-H. Graham Motion. $100,000.
3–Wakanaka (Ire), 122, m, 5, by Power (GB)
1st Dam: Storyline (Ire), by Kodiac (GB)
2nd Dam: Petite Histoire (Ire), by Desert Story (Ire)
3rd Dam: Danccini (Ire), by Dancing Dissident
(£3,500 Ylg '19 GOFFPR; $975,000 RNA 4yo '22 KEENOV).
O-Team Valor International and Gary Barber; B-Mrs Jean
Brennan (Ire); T-William I. Mott. $60,000.
Margins: 3 3/4, 1, NK. Odds: 0.20, 4.20, 12.70.
Also Ran: New Year's Eve, Speak of the Devil (Fr).
Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by TVG.

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