Front-running Princess Bettina and Frankie Dettori win the China Doll
Although she had been running from off the pace in all of her recent races, the Peter Eurton-trained Princess Bettina took charge in the run to the first turn and was never headed before cruising a 4¼-length win in Saturday’s $100,000 China Doll Stakes at Santa Anita.
Ridden for the first time in the afternoon by European legend Frankie Dettori, Princess Bettina, a Florida-bred owned and bred in the Sunshine State by Donald Dizney, got one mile on turf in 1:36.19.
Breaking from post five in a field of six, Princess Bettina easily cleared Havana Angel to her inside and with the rest of the field content to take back early, Dettori was left to his own devices up front and he made the most of the opportunity.
“I had no plans,” said Dettori. “I rode the filly the other morning and I told Pete that I thought she was quite useful, she’s a little bit hot. She broke well. Nobody wanted the lead, so I took it. I got her into a nice rhythm into the backstretch and as soon as we got to the quarter pole, she kicked and found a new gear, it was all over.”
Most recently a troubled third, beaten one length going a mile on turf here in the Lady of Shamrock Stakes Feb. 12, Princess Bettina was the third choice among a field of sophomore fillies at 5-2 and paid $7.40 for the win.
By Will Take Charge out of the First Dude mare Aiden’s Girl, Princess Bettina notched her first stakes win and now has two wins and three third place finishes from seven starts. With the China Doll winner’s share of $60,000, she increased her earnings to $131,660.
“She’s always quick and she’s always been a (nervous) filly,” said Eurton. “She’s always been kind of taken back a little bit (in her races). In her sprint races on dirt, she showed a lot of speed and just didn’t have any finish to her, but the two turns and grass seems to have done her a world of good.”
The 3-2 favorite with Umberto Rispoli, two-time stakes winner Comanche Country put in a good late run to finish one length in front of Tea N Conversation.
Ridden by John Velazquez, Tea N Conversation had clear sailing throughout and loomed menacingly while two off the winner a quarter mile from home, but lacked the necessary punch.
Fractions on the race were :23.09, :47.89, 1:12.65, and 1:24.27.