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Zada Belle dances over improved track surface


Darley Stable's Zada Belle romped to a 4 1/2 length victory today at Santa Anita in a six furlong allowance event for fillies and mares on the main track. Coming back from a 17-month layoff, the 4-year-old daughter of Indian Charlie went off as the 1 to 5 favorite and did not disappoint. She broke on top of the field, but then settled behind a fast pace of 21.83 and 44.82. She responded well when asked and took the lead at the eighth pole, easily drawing off to win under a hand ride by jockey Rafael Bejarano and finishing the race in a brisk 1:08.86 on a track was considered moderately slow today.

"She'd been off for an awful long time and we didn't know what to expect," said trainer Eoin Harty. "But she trained well and when the gates opened, she left no doubt that she is a top-class filly."

The bay filly was purchased at the Barretts March 2-Year-Old in Training sale for $95,000. She was making only her second start today after beating maidens at Oak Tree on October 13, 2006 by nine lengths while in the care of trainer Adam Kitchingman. So impressive was her debut that Darley purchased her privately and she has been in training in Kentucky with trainer Johnny Burke.

"Johnny had her 100% ready but we've had difficulty getting her in a race due to track conditions," Harty said, referring to problems with the track before the recent addition of binding agents. "I couldn't be happier with the track now. This is the track I think they were going for all along."

Zada Belle was bred in Florida by Scott Lanier and is out of the Carson City mare Three of a Kind. After receiving congratulations from fans and friends at Santa Anita, Harty replied, "It's easy to train the good ones."

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