Ciao Bella Luna wins Beaumont Stakes at Keeneland

Ciao Bella Luna and jockey Joel Rosario pulled away to win the Grade II Beaumont Stakes by 21/2 lengths.
Ciao Bella Luna and jockey Joel Rosario pulled away to win the Grade II Beaumont Stakes by 21/2 lengths. Keeneland Photo

It came a couple days later from a bit of an unexpected source. But Gillian Campbell and her fellow partners nevertheless ended up happily breathless while trailing one of their fillies into a winner's circle.

Two days after being hit with angst when her filly Summer Applause finished fourth in the Grade I Apple Blossom Stakes at Oaklawn, Campbell received a jolt when Ciao Bella Luna — another distaffer she owns in partnership — pulled the mild upset at 7-to-1 to win the Grade II Beaumont Stakes by 21/2 lengths at Keeneland on Sunday.

Campbell — who owns Ciao Bella Luna along with Bill Martin, Greenwood Lodge Farm and Dennis Yokum — thought if there were a celebration to be had on her end this weekend, multiple graded stakes winner Summer Applause was going to be the inspiration.

Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, Ciao Bella Luna salvaged some adulation for her connections when she made a four-wide sweep under leading rider Joel Rosario to collar pacesetter Magical Moon for her first graded stakes victory.

"We had a disappointment at Arkansas with Summer Applause who was expected to win and then this one that was a long shot, we just won," Campbell said. "I'm a bit overcome. But they just thought it was the right spot for her."

A change of some sort was in order for Ciao Bella Luna following her first two outings of 2013. The 3-year-old daughter of Tribal Rule was ninth in the Silverbulletday Stakes on the dirt at Fair Grounds on Jan. 19 and then seventh in the China Doll Stakes over the Santa Anita Park turf on March 9.

Having notched her first two career victories over the synthetic surface at Golden Gates Field last season, Hollendorfer and his team decided to go back to what had worked, hence the decision to ship out for a run over Keeneland's Polytrack.

"It's been great to have her back on the synthetic surface," said Christina Jelm, assistant to Hollendorfer. "Jerry and racing manager Mark Cornett have found her niche, I think."

The 7-furlong Beaumont had some early drama when 40-to-1 longshot Cash Is Queen bounced off the inside rail coming out of the chute, prompting some quick steadying by jockey Robby Albarado.

No rider has been more unflappable this Keeneland Spring Meet than Rosario, who leads the standings with 14 victories. In his first time aboard Ciao Bella Luna, Rosario rated her on an outside path midpack through fractions of :22.86 and :46.10 before surging up to strike the wire in 1:26.92.

"Turning for home, I knew she had plenty left," Rosario said. "She did good today."

Magical Moon held for second, 23/4 lengths ahead of beaten favorite Judy In Disguise.

"Hopefully there is a really bright future for (Ciao Bella Luna) now," Campbell said. "We're excited."