02/10/2011 4:49PM

Bella Medaglia may win her first stakes in first start for a new barn


After Bella Medaglia sustained an injury that led to a long layoff, and returned with a modest Dec.  13 comeback race wearing front bandages for the first time, it seemed fair to wonder if the 4-year-old filly had hit her career peak early in 2010, when she finished second in the Tiffany Lass Stakes. One start later, after a sharp Jan. 21 allowance win, it seems fair to wonder if there might be a graded stakes somewhere out there that will prove to be within Bella Medaglia’s scope.

But first things first: As well as Bella Medaglia ran last year, she has yet to win a stakes of any kind, and a victory in the $60,000 Pelleteri on Saturday at Fair Grounds would boost her career resume.

Bella Medaglia was one of eight horses entered in the Pelleteri, carded for 1 1/16 miles on the main track. She drew post 5, and will be ridden for the third straight time by Kerwin “Boo Boo” Clark, while making her first start in the stable of trainer Bret Calhoun. Owners Keith and Ginger Myers, who race as Coteau Grove Farms, transferred Bella Medaglia to Calhoun from trainer Glenn Delahoussaye earlier this month. Delahoussaye is a year-round Louisiana trainer, and the Myers, Delahhousaye said, want to send Bella Medaglia north following the Fair Grounds meeting. It was deemed prudent to get the filly to Calhoun sooner rather than later.

While Bella Medaglia has done most of her daily training at the Evangeline training center, she’s plenty familiar with Fair Grounds, where she’s made all seven of her starts. The best of them probably was the most recent. Tracking a fast pace, Bella Medaglia seized control of an entry-level, dirt-route allowance in upper stretch and drew clear to win by almost six lengths. Her time of 1:42.51 for a mile 70 yards was the fastest recorded at the current Fair Grounds meet, and Bella Medaglia appeared to be going easily.

Saturday, she could get an ideal trip tracking the pace of Fighter Wing and Sheer Beauty. Fighter Wing, second by a neck in the 2010 edition of this race, has been working bullets for her first start since Dec. 18, and seems certain to head to the front. Sheer Beauty came back from a long layoff in a Jan. 22 turf sprint, and also figures to show early speed.

Avie’s Tale won well over Fair Grounds mud on Jan. 1. Third Dawn has yet to demonstrate that she can transfer her stakes-class synthetic form to dirt.