Unique Bella lived up to her name in 2017, turning from an early route campaign to be named the 2017 champion female sprinter.
|FEMALE SPRINTER||FIRST-PLACE VOTES|
|Bar of Gold||36|
|By the Moon||5|
The gray daughter of Tapit was an early contender on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks, romping by 7 1/2 lengths in the seven-furlong Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) on January 8 before stretching out to take the one-mile Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) by 8 3/4 lengths and the 1 1/16-mile Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) by 2 1/4 lengths.
The Jerry Hollendorfer trainee never got the chance to test her mettle against Abel Tasman in the Kentucky Oaks (G1), bowing out of consideration in March with a shin injury. Unique Bella missed the rest of the spring and the entire summer season before returning October 8 in the L.A. Woman Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
The Pennsylvania-bred lass had no trouble subduing her five rivals in the 6 1/2-furlong affair, and entered the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) off that 3 1/2-length triumph. Unique Bella was no factor in the seven-furlong championship event, finishing seventh in the 14-distaffer field, but wasn’t done yet.
On December 26, Unique Bella lined up against Paradise Woods in the La Brea Stakes (G1) going seven furlongs at Santa Anita. The latter filly had dominated the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) in the spring by 11 3/4 lengths, was cutting back to a sprint distance for the first time since breaking her maiden in March and had last been seen running third in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1).
Unique Bella ran down Paradise Woods for the three-quarter length victory and closed out her sophomore season with a 6-5-0-0 mark and $550,000 in earnings. In two seasons of racing, the gray filly has banked $592,400 and run up an 8-6-1-0 career record.