FLAVIEN PRAT, BELLAFINA, WINNER: “That was great. Simon and all of his team, they did a great job with her. Last time out, she was pretty aggressive. They took off the blinkers and did some work in the mornings and she ran much better today than at Del Mar (in the Del Mar Debutante Sept. 1.) She was much better in the race today; she relaxed and did everything right.”
JOEL ROSARIO, VIBRANCE, SECOND: “She broke really well and wanted the lead but then started looking around. She ran really well but the winner was much the best.”
SIMON CALLAGHAN, BELLAFINA, WINNER: “I think the big key today was to see her relax, and going two turns that was very important. We took the blinkers off – it was a decision I thought would benefit her. She was so relaxed today. The race set up about how we hoped, she relaxed and was breathing throughout, and then kicked at the end. I think that’s about all you could ever hope for.
“When she had the blinkers on, she was a little more tense . . . She switched leads and did everything right, and she dominated today.
“She’s answered every question. We’ve jumped from five-eighths to three-quarters to seven-eighths and now to a mile and a sixteenth. That’s what the good ones do – they’ve got the speed but they can also get the extra distance.”
KALEEM SHAH, OWNER, BELLAFINA, WINNER: “It is certainly very exciting to see her come down the stretch. Everyone has been talking about her switching leads and she certainly did it. I think taking the blinkers off certainly helped her but it’s what Simon [Callaghan] has been expecting all along. It was Simon’s decision to take the blinkers off. I hope she goes far from this day forward . . . I know there’s a very good filly on the east coast so it should be a really good match up. She keeps impressing but I think today she did it the right way. Going in this business you have to take it one race at a time so certainly next is the Breeders’ Cup so let’s see how she does there.”
ARON WELLMAN, ECLIPSE THOROUGHBREDS, CO-OWNER OF VIBRANCE, SECOND: “We ran into a buzz saw, no question. The race didn’t set up the way we thought it would, but Joel did the right thing. He got a flyer coming out of the gate and he just went on with it, which was the right thing. The winner is really special, but we got Grade I black type and, touch wood, we’ll go on to the Breeders’ Cup from here. She should move forward off this.”
NOTES: The winning owner is Kaleem Shah who has a residence in Reston, Va.
Zoe Metz Photography