Sentiero Italia marches on to to QEII Cup after Sands Point romp

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

September 12th, 2015

It is now safe to say the void in the three-year-old filly turf ranks left by Lady Eli, who continues to recover from the effects of laminitis, has been ably filled by Sentiero Italia.

Godolphin's homebred by Medaglia d'Oro on Saturday romped to her second stakes win in succession, taking the $500,000 Sands Point (G2) at Belmont Park by 3 3/4 lengths over a cast that included several highly-regarded international shippers.

The 17-10 favorite coming off a 1 1/4-length score in the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga, Sentiero Italia tracked in second behind longshot Cara Marie through splits of :24.66, :49.01 and 1:13.53. Seizing control from that one in upper stretch, she comfortably scored while giving jockey Joel Rosario his fifth winner on the card.

Sentiero Italia completed nine furlongs in 1:48.83 on good ground and paid $5.40. English shipper Blond Me, the least heralded of the overseas invaders, rallied up the inside to edge Miss Temple City for second by a neck at odds of 16-1.

Multiple Group 3 winners Osaila and Malabar finished fifth and ninth, respectively, while Lake George (G2) scorer Mrs McDougal crossed the wire in seventh.

Barring an infusion of classier European imports, Sentiero Italia figures to be a formidable contender and probable favorite in the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland on October 10.

Seventh in her debut at Gulfstream on March 11, Sentiero Italia rebounded to break her maiden at Aqueduct and then won an allowance at Belmont. A dead-heat fourth in the Belmont Oaks (G1) behind Lady Eli, she's now come to the fore of the division in that brilliant filly's absence.

"She had her issues early in her career but she's gotten good," trainer Kiaran McLaughlin said. "Once we got her going she hasn't had any issues; she's run every race we've pointed for. She's top shelf."

(Sentiero Italia photo: NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography)