Day At The Track

Bella Bellini still fastest in nation

09:06 AM 13 May 2021 NZST
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Bella Bellini, harness racing
Bella Bellini in 2020 win
Curtis Salonick Photo

CHESTER, PA - The Bar Hopping sophomore trotting filly Bella Bellini cemented the impression that she could be one of the top-level misses in her division with a Wednesday afternoon victory at Harrah's Chester in 1:53 - lowering by a tick her own standard as the fastest three-year-old trotter in North American harness racing, regardless of sex or track size.

Dexter Dunn let the stunning filly roll to the lead past the :28.3 quarter, and then proceeded to put up fractions of :56 and 1:23.4 - a :55.1 middle half, losing any opposition down the backstretch. She continued home unaccompanied, missing the local divisional track record of Whose Blues by two-fifths of a second in only her third seasonal start.

Trainer Nifty Norman has certainly figured this filly after an 0-for-7 campaign at two, and owner David McDuffee must take special pride in Bella Bellini in that her first and second dams are respectively Bella Dolce and Pizza Dolce, two great mares of his for years, both on the racetrack and in the breeding shed. "Hambletonian Oaks" and "lifetime winner of $25,048" are phrases not often in the same sentence, but Bella Bellini may take the next step here next Friday, as there will be a Pennsylvania Sire Stakes for this division.



Bella Bellini was in one of five $12,600 highlight events on the Wednesday Harrah's card; in the other featured trot, Wixx Hanover set the pace but broke at the ¾, with favored Fortissimo Fashion inheriting the lead. She jumped headstretch, with Vitani As inheriting the lead, but that one was caught late by the Yankee Glide sophomore filly Miss Vet Hanover in 1:55.2 - who then survived an inquiry which showed that she switched to the pace only after the wire.

The victory wasn't as easy for driver Tyler Buter and trainer John Butenschoen as their recent successes at Pocono has been, but they and owner Lester Beachy will take the win.

Two of the three pacing features were for males, and in the faster one the Rockin Image gelding Rockin Rocko got past favored Rolling With Sam for a 1:52 win for driver Andrew McCarthy, trainer Bruce Saunders, and owner Jason Martinelli Sr.

The other race for this class saw the Sweet Lou sophomore colt Hippestcatintown win in his 2021 debut in 1:53.4, with Russell Foster at the controls as the youngster made every pole a winning one for owner/trainer Richard Hans.

In the lone feature division for pacing females, the Always B Miki sophomore filly Always B First is now 3-for-4 on the year after rallying off of cover into a :55.2 back half to win in 1:53.1. Tim Tetrick drove the winner for trainer Robert Cleary and owners Oompa's Farm Inc., Robert Mondillo, Craig Henderson, and Allen Wenc.

"Trottin' Thursday" at Harrah's Philadelphia will feature two $14,400 headliners for developing horses, and a $13,000 fast-class subfeature. Racing starts Thursday at 12:25; program pages will be available at

FINISHING LINES - At the PHHA sister track The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono this morning, driver Mark MacDonald and trainer Ray Schnittker combined to win with two interesting horses: Hickfromfrenchlick, continuing on the comeback trail with a 1:52.4 - :55 - :27 victory, and the Muscle Hill - Buck I St Pat sophomore trotting colt Shamrocks, preparing for his racing debut with a win in 1:59.3, his own back fractions in :57.1 - :28.2.

For full race results, click here.

From the PHHA/Harrah's Philadelphia

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