March 23, 2019

Unique Bella – 2018 Champion Older Dirt Female

Unique Bella and jockey Mike Smith win the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1) at Del Mar on July 29, 2018 © BENOIT PHOTO

In 2017, Unique Bella was honored as the champion female sprinter. On Thursday evening, the gray daughter of Tapit added another Eclipse Award to her trophy case, this time as the 2018 champion older dirt female.

Unique Bella’s lifetime record courtesy of Brisnet!

Unique Bella began her four-year-old campaign with a dominating nine-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile Santa Maria Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park on February 10. She then finished second in the April 13 Apple Blossom Handicap (G1) at Oaklawn Park in what would be her first, and only foray, outside of Southern California.

Following a brief break, trainer Jerry Hollendorfer saddled his star pupil to a 2 1/4-length score in the Beholder Mile (G1) back at Santa Anita in June. Unique Bella then showed up for the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (G1), a “Win & You’re In” contest for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), and easily secured her spot in the Distaff with a front-running, half-length victory.

Unfortunately, the filly’s Breeders’ Cup aspirations, and career, were cut short in August when it was discovered she had suffered a fractured sesamoid bone following a workout at Del Mar. Owner Haras Don Alberto announced Unqiue Bella’s the retirement via Twitter. She wrapped up her career with a 12-9-2-0, $1,272,400 lifetime mark.

Bred in Pennsylvania by Brushwood Stable, Unique Bella was a $400,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase. She is by Tapit and out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Unrivaled Belle, who captured the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

OLDER DIRT FEMALE FIRST-PLACE VOTES
UNIQUE BELLA 182
Abel Tasman 34
Marley’s Freedom 14
Blue Prize (Arg) 9
Wow Cat (Chi) 9
Voter Abstention 1