News & Barn notes

11-1 My Beautiful Belle Rallies From Off The Pace To Win Saturday’s Regret Stakes For Trainer Chuck Spina

July 01, 2023

After recently celebrating his 75th birthday, trainer Chuck Spina could not be faulted for wanting to slow down a bit. The reality is nothing could be further from the truth.

My Beautiful Belle, overlooked in the wagering despite carrying a two-race winning streak, used a perfect set-up trip to score a 1½-length victory in Saturday’s $98,000 Regret Stakes at Monmouth Park, giving Spina his second stakes victory of the meet.

When Mia’s Crusade won the Spruce Fir at Monmouth Park on May 20 it marked Spina’s first stakes win since 2020.

My Beautiful Belle, sitting fourth off an early three-horse speed duel in the five-horse race for fillies and mares, 3 and up, looped four-wide around the final turn for jockey Jomar Torres and sailed past Oxana for her sixth career win.

The winning time for the six furlongs was 1:09.89.

“She’s in excellent form right now,” said Spina, a fixture at Monmouth Park since 1971. “We’re going to breed her soon, in January or February, so it was good to get her a stakes win.

“She got the perfect set-up laying fourth behind the speed. She won here last year by 6¾ lengths in 1:09.2 and got an 87 Beyer Speed Figure for that and I thought if she could run back to that she would have a shot here. I thought she would run well so I’m not surprised by this.”

Bred in Pennsylvania by co-owner Joe Ioia, Spina’s long-time business partner, My Beautiful Belle return $25.00 to win.

Torres had the 5-year-old daughter of Munnings watching the duel up front between 3-2 favorite Olivia Darling, 17-10 shot Self Isolation and 2-1 Oxana through an opening quarter in :22.10 and a half in :44.70. Coming off the turn, Torres wheeled her four-wide and she raced past the early frontrunners. Oxana held for second, one length ahead of Sweet Willemina.

“She tried hard today, said Torres. “She broke good and we were able to work out a good trip behind the speed dueling in front of us. She is much better off the pace. She broke sharply and we settled in and when I asked her for that one big move around the turn she gave it to me.

“I knew she would run big today. I don’t think she has even been better than she is now.”

Spina, who turned 75 on June 28, is coming off a 2022 season that saw him win 16 races – his highest total since 1990 – while setting a personal best with $660,215 in earnings. With partners with Joe and Gayle Ioia, the trio tied for the owner’s title a year ago.

Spina has seven wins this year, scoring an upset with 18-1 Raw Power on Monmouth Park’s Friday card.