CHESTER PA – The Bar Hopping – Bella Dolce filly Bella Bellini became the fastest three-year-old trotter in North America so far in 2021 when she won at Harrah’s Philadelphia on Thursday afternoon in 1:53.1.
Dexter Dunn kept the talented miss in the pocket behind Worthy Of Honor early as that one put down numbers of :28.1 and :57.4, then pulled her out to challenge the leader nearing the 1:25.3 three-quarters. Bella Bellini cleared to the lead before the end of the far turn, and tacked on her own second successive :27.3 quarter to win by 5¾ lengths over the pacesetter while going comfortably, indicating much more is to come from trainer Nifty Norman and owner David McDuffee, who has long been associated with this filly’s famous family.
The two fleet three-year-olds got their races in before a soaking rain moved through the area, forcing the downgrading of the racing surface to “sloppy.” A pair of $11,600 contests for fast-class older performers were held after the rainstorm, and in the “tougher” division on paper, the Muscles Yankee four-year-old mare No Mas Drama continued undefeated in three seasonal starts, with the new Michael Russo trainee leaving no doubt she was the best in a pacesetting 1:53.2 lifetime mark. Ginnis Stables LLC owns the winner of $258,305, and that bankroll should be climbing quickly in short order if she can retain her current sharpness.
In the other sub-feature, Only For Justice and Moveoutofmyway K exchanged the lead before Only For Justice grabbed it for good early in the backstretch, though Moveoutofmyway K came at him again at the end of a 1:55.2 mile to be defeated only by a length. Only For Justice, making his second start here after coming from Mohawk, is a Justice Hall gelding and a winner of $273,147; he is trained by Andrew Harris for Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc.
Harrah’s Philadelphia still has three cards coming up this racing week: the usual Friday card at 12:25 p.m., and then a special live program on Kentucky Derby Day Saturday, with the same post time as Sunday’s racing, 12:40 p.m. Program pages for these cards will be available at https://www.phha.org/harrahspps.html.