Updated on 09/16/2011 8:49AM

Bella Bellucci in tough feature


ELMONT, N.Y. - The final sunset racing card of the Belmont Park summer meet features an allowance race that easily could be a stakes.

Among the five fillies and mares entered in Friday's $56,000 allowance, four are stakes winners: Bella Bellucci, Shiny Band, Tax Affair, and Ransom's Pride.

The 1 1/8-mile dirt race is for nonwinners of $10,000 twice over a mile this year or nonwinners-of-four-races other than.

Bella Bellucci started her 3-year-old campaign on a strong note. But since winning her first two starts, not much has gone right for Bella Bellucci. After winning the Santa Paula Stakes in March at Santa Anita and scoring a seven-length victory in the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct in April, Bella Bellucci would have been one of the favorites for the Kentucky Oaks. But Bella Bellucci's trainer, Neil Drysdale, did not run the filly in the Oaks because he was dissatisfied with the results of a blood test.

Bella Bellucci, a daughter of French Deputy who was purchased at auction for $925,000 by Michael Tabor, returned in the Grade 1 Acorn on June 7.

As the heavy favorite of the five-horse field, Drysdale's filly finished a lackluster third, beaten 12 lengths by You, who turned in a dazzling performance.

Bella Bellucci was forced to miss the Grade 1 Mother Goose because of a sore muscle in her back but has had three recorded works since running in the Acorn.

Drysdale is hoping to use Friday's race as a prep for the $750,000 Alabama on Aug. 17 at Saratoga.

"She's been training well and is in good order," Drysdale said.

"Hopefully, she'll run well and this will be a nice prep for the Alabama. It's a long year, with a lot of races to aim to. Hopefully, she'll play catchup."

Jerry Bailey will be aboard Bella Bellucci for the first time. Drysdale's filly drew post 2.

Shiny Band, who won the Grade 2 Shuvee here in May for trainer Allen Jerkens, returns just seven days after finishing eighth in an allowance turf sprint.

The distance here is probably too long for the mud-loving Shiny Band, whose best races have been at a mile and under. Hot apprentice Victor Carrero has the mount on Shiny Band.

Tax Affair, the likely pacesetter, is a multiple stakes winner and is 2 for 2 at Belmont, including last year's WNBC Stakes.

New York-bred Ransom's Pride merits plenty of respect in the statebred ranks, but she might find the waters too deep here.

Longshot Lady on the Go completes the field.

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