Bella Anatola takes First Lady Stakes

RUIDOSO DOWNS -- Dana Buechler’s Bella Anatola made a winning move over a sloppy track to run down pacesetters Bright Town and Sky Rant and win the $30,000 First Lady Handicap for fillies and mares at Ruidoso Downs on Saturday afternoon.

            The Frank Reyes-ridden Bella Anatola raced the six furlongs 1:12.55 for her first stakes win.

            Bella Anatola, an 8-1 outsider, broke well from the starting gate and Reyes allowed her to settle into fifth position going down the backstretch. The four-year-old mare then willingly went after the leaders on the turn and was three-wide at the top of the stretch. Reyes tapped her and gave her a strong hand ride on way to the expanding four-and-one-half length win.

            Bright Town finished second, nosing out Sky Rant.

            A Kentucky-bred daughter of Eskendereya, Bella Anatola was making her stakes debut for trainer Simon Buechler after racing in conditioned allowance and optional-claiming company. She had shown consistent form by finishing in the top-three horses in six previous starts. Two starts back, on December 27, she came from off the pace to take a $26,900 allowance race at Sunland Park.

            Tricar Stables’ Bright Town won the First Lady Handicap two years ago and came into this year’s running off a third-place run in a $37,700 allowance test at Sunland Park.

            A daughter of Speightstown, Bright Town was ridden by Ruby Gonzalez for trainer Sal Gonzalez.

            Third-place finisher Sky Rant, ridden by Alfredo Juarez Jr., was sent off as the 3-2 favorite off a win in the $30,000 Budweiser Handicap at SunRay Park. The Sky Mesa-sired mare came into the First Lady after three wins and a close second in her four previous outs.

            For complete Ruidoso Downs’ information, go to raceruidoso.com, visit the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Casino Facebook page and follow the Ruidoso Press Box (@RuiPressBox) on Twitter.

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