05/28/2012 8:14PM

Hollywood Park: Belle Royale loafs early, sizzles late in Gamely

Benoit & Associates
Belle Royale, under Joel Rosario, rallies from seventh to win the Grade 1 Gamely.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - Belle Royale has such a low-key approach to the first half of her races that trainer Simon Callaghan almost describes her as lazy.

The second half of a race is a much different situation.

For the second time in as many months, Belle Royale closed from the rear of a field to win a turf stakes for females in Southern California.

She won the minor American Beauty Stakes at Santa Anita on April 7 in her American debut, and won the most prestigious race of her career in Monday’s $250,000 Gamely Stakes at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Belle Royale ($6.60) closed from seventh in a field of eight to win the Grade 1 Gamely by a half-length over Quiet Oasis.

“She relaxes so well she’s almost lazy,” Callaghan said. “She has an unbelievable turn of foot and that’s a big weapon.”

Callaghan, who trains Belle Royale for Michael Tabor, hoped that the 4-year-old filly would be third or fourth in the first half of the Gamely, run over 1 1/8 miles on turf. Instead, Belle Royale was seventh, trailing leader Capital Plan by almost six lengths with three furlongs remaining.

“She drops behind and relaxes,” Callaghan said.

Rosario guided Belle Royale between fillies through the stretch and reached the front in the final 50 yards. She was timed in 1:47.84.

Quiet Oasis, who won the Grade 3 Wilshire Handicap over a mile on turf in April, finished a half-length in front of Capital Plan. Nereid, the

2-1 favorite, finished sixth, racing as close as second on the backstretch.

Quiet Oasis was ridden by jockey Mario Gutierrez for owner Paul Reddam. They are the jockey and owner of Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner I’ll Have Another.

Quiet Oasis is trained by Ben Cecil, who was philosophical about his filly’s loss on Monday.

“A mile and an eighth might be her limit,” Cecil said. “It’s nice to be Grade 1-placed. It would have been nice to have won it.”

Belle Royale has compiled a five-race winning streak since last summer. The first three races were in England last August and September in minor handicaps.

Callaghan deliberately skipped the Wilshire Handicap with Belle Royale to focus on the Gamely. 

“She’s been feeling so good going into this race,” Callaghan said. “She’s tough and she loves firm ground.”

Belle Royale, by Val Royal, has won 10 of 26 starts and $358,231.

Callaghan said the Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park in August could be Belle Royale’s next start.