RAMPART S. | PURSE: $150,000 | 4-YEAR-OLDS AND UP | FILLIES AND MARES | GRADE 3 | 1 1/8-MILES
Michael B. Tabor's Ciao Bella was much the best as she wired the six-horse field in the Grade 3, $150,000 Rampart Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Saturday for her first stakes victory.
The Todd Pletcher pupil broke from the inside post and dictated the pace by setting fractions of :24 3/5, :49 1/5 and 1:13. Ciao Bella was under a hand ride at the top of the stretch and drew away when asked by jockey John Velazquez for a 4 1/2-length win.
The four-year-old filly stopped the clock in 1:50 for the 1 1/8-mile contest over the fast main track.
Authenticity tried to catch her stablemate in the stretch but was no match and was clearly second best. Ciao Bella was pressured by Successful Song on the outside through the three-quarter pole but she began to tire and crossed the wire in third. Go Unbridled, Call the Ten and One Last Dance rounded out the order of finish.
The 2-5 favorite paid $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10 to her backers and boosted her bankroll to $236,960 from a 9-4-2-1 line.
Ciao Bella broke her maiden over this track in December 2011 and did not return to the races until July of last year while winning an allowance at Monmouth Park. She stepped up to stakes company a month later, finishing fourth in the Summer Guest Stakes at Saratoga. The gray's next four starts were on the turf, which included a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Garden City at Belmont and a runner-up in the Grade 3 La Prevoyante Handicap at Calder.
Ciao Bella returned to the dirt for her four-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park, winning an optional claimer last month by 5 3/4 lengths.
Bred in Kentucky by Chelston, the daughter of Giant's Causeway is out of the Grade 2 winning and multiple Grade 1-placed French Deputy mare Bella Bellucci, who is a full sister to Japanese champion, Japan Cup Dirt winner and sire Kuofune. Her third dams is Eliza Blue, who produced the multiple Grade 1 winner Brought to Mind.