Belle Royale’s late rally wins Gamely
Monday’s Grade 1 Gamely for older fillies and mares looked to be a two-horse race as Quiet Oasis and Capital Plan battled the length of the stretch, but suddenly on the far outside the Irish-bred Val Royal filly Belle Royale swept past both of them to win Monday’s Memorial Day holiday headliner at Betfair Hollywood Park by a half-length. Quiet Oasis held second, with Capital Plan third in the field of eight. Time for the nine furlongs on firm turf was 1:47.84.
Belle Royal, owned by Michael Tabor and ridden to victory by Joel Rosario, is trained by Simon Callaghan, a 29-year-old native of Cambridge, England, who has been training about five years, the last 2 1/2 in the United States. He won last year’s Gamely win Dubawi Heights, giving him his first victory in a Grade 1 event.
Quiet Oasis, owned and ridden by the Kentucky Derby-winning duo of Reddam Racing and Mario Gutierrez, led early, setting fractions of :23.76 and :47.99. She was overtaken approaching the far turn by Capital Plan, who moved through to her inside under Brice Blanc. But Quiet Oasis fought back, and the two fillies hook up for a spirited battle down the stretch. Belle Royale entered the picture late, just as she did in her United States debut on April 7, rallying from eighth place at the furlong pole to win going away under Rosario. She was seventh early in the Gamely, and fourth at the furlong pole.
The Gamely was the 10th career victory for Belle Royale from 26 starts. She was the 2-1 second choice in the betting behind Nereid, who finished sixth after prompting the early pace.
Quotes, courtesy Betfair Hollywood Park media office
JOEL ROSARIO, BELLE ROYALE, Winner: “She came home fast, but she was doing it easy. She just keeps it going. That’s just the way she runs. The last quarter mile she really turns it on. I think she’s a really nice filly. I don’t see any reason she won’t go longer. A mile and one-quarter or a mile and three-eighths.”
MARIO GUTIERREZ, QUIET OASIS, Second: “Into the turn I left the rail open for the other one (Capital Plan) because I wanted my filly on the outside. She ran really well. She is a nice filly.’’
SIMON CALLAGHAN, BELLE ROYALE, Winner: “I wouldn’t say I gave up on the turn because this filly really finishes. But the nature of this course has been very speed favoring all meet. Because of that, our plan was to be forward a little more, maybe fourth. But she’s just one of those fillies that drops herself in and relaxes. She’s got an unbelievable turn of foot. And obviously that’s a pretty big weapon. The big thing with her is she loves firm ground. She’s just very, very honest. She’s one of those fillies who always gives 100 percent and she’s got a lot of class to go with it. I’m very lucky to train a filly as good as this. I think we’ll go to Arlington ($750,000 Beverly D. Stakes Aug. 18). It will be pretty much the same program as (2011 Gamely winner) Dubawi Heights had last year.”
BEN CECIL, QUIET OASIS, Second: “She ran really well, but what can you do? A mile and an eighth might be her limit, but we’ll see. It’s nice to be Grade I placed, but it would be nicer to win it. I don’t know where she’ll run next. Maybe something like the (Grade II, $150,000) Royal Heroine (Mile July 7).”
Notes: Callaghan is the first trainer to win the Gamely back-to-back since the late Bobby Frankel won with Citronnade (2007) and Precious Kitten (2008)….Rosario was the first jockey to win the race in consecutive years since Kent Desormeaux — Possibly Perfect (1995) and Auriette (1996).