07/03/2016 8:35PM

Divina Comedia runs her best yet in taking Southern Truce

Benoit & Associates
Sunday's victory for Divina Comedia was the first stakes of her career.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Divina Comedia won the first stakes of her career in Sunday’s $79,190 Southern Truce Stakes for fillies and mares at Santa Anita, leaving jockey Joe Talamo covered in dirt from helmet to boots.

Talamo guided Divina Comedia from off the pace in the minor race at 1 1/16 miles. The course Talamo took to reach the front with Divina Comedia was evident in his postrace appearance: He stood in the winner’s circle with dirt covering his helmet, silks, pants, and boots.

Talamo did not mind. Divina Comedia ($35) ran the best race of her career to win the Southern Truce in an upset over Gloryzapper, the 2-1 second choice.

“We had a good setup,” Talamo said.

Divina Comedia was fourth for the first half-mile, trailing Gloryzapper and Belle Hill, who set early fractions of 23.01 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 46.50 seconds for a half-mile. Talamo had Divina Comedia third on the turn and took the lead with a wide rally in the stretch. Divina Comedia led by a length with a furlong to go and won by 1 3/4 lengths. She was timed in 1:42.89.

Gloryzapper held second, finishing a head in front of 15-1 Show Stealer, who was followed by Moyo Honey, Jolene, Belle Hill, and Living the Life. Living the Life won the Grade 3 All American Stakes against males at Golden Gate Fields on May 30, and was the 8-5 favorite in the Southern Truce. She was third early, but faded in the final half-mile.

Divina Comedia, a 5-year-old French-bred mare by Footstepsinthesand, has won 4 of 18 starts and has earned $218,282. The mare is owned by Marsha Naify and is trained by Simon Callaghan.

Divina Comedia won an optional claimer at Los Alamitos in April and was fifth behind the three-time champion Beholder in the Grade 1 Vanity Mile on June 4. The Vanity was a tough race. Stellar Wind, the champion 3-year-old filly of 2015, finished second.

“I think the race she won at Los Alamitos really gave her confidence,” Talamo said. “Last time, they went so slow. Obviously, Beholder was in the race.”

Callaghan is Divina Comedia’s third trainer in the last year. She was trained by Julio Canani until last fall, when he was suspended for financial improprieties involving the sale of horses. Divina Comedia was trained by Miguel Delgado, Canani’s former assistant, for one start last November before joining Callaghan’s stable at the end of 2015.

For Callaghan, Divina Comedia has won 2 of 6 starts.