It wasn’t the blowout victory she appeared well on her way to heading into the far turn, but champion and ‘TDN Rising Star’ Unique Bella held sway late to notch her second straight Grade I tally in the GI Clement L. Hirsch S. and with it, an automatic berth into the GI Breeders’ Cup Distaff.
Reeling off five straight easy scores after a debut second two summers ago, the big gray was fried on a fast pace in the GI Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last November and faded to seventh, her only finish out of the exacta thus far. Freshened up, she cantered home an effortless winner of the GII Santa Maria S. and, after disappointing when second at 1-5 in the GI Apple Blossom H., bounced back with a score in the GI Beholder Mile S. last out June 2 at Santa Anita.
Crushed down to 1-10 in this return to Del Mar, Unique Bella broke sharply under Mike Smith, who wasted no time putting the speedy filly on the lead. She showed the way through splits of :23.25 and :46.80 with Yuvetsi (Bodemeister) tracking from second about two lengths behind and a gap of seven or eight more back to the rest. That presser came under a ride at the top of the far turn as Unique Bella began to cruise away, seemingly en route to another easy success. La Force (Ger), runner-up in the Beholder Mile, however, came alive on the latter half of the bend and put in a strong stretch kick. Things looked suddenly treacherous for Unique Bella passing the sixteenth pole, but she had just enough to stave off La Force by a half-length on the line.
Unique Bella is out of Unrivaled Belle, victress of the 2010 GI Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic, who sold for $2.8 million to breeder Brushwood Stable in 2011 before reselling for $3.8 million to Whisper Hill Farm at the 2016 Keeneland November Sale. Unrivaled Belle is responsible for a yearling full-sister to the winner named Unrivaled Princess and foaled her full-brother Jan. 28 before returning to Tapit once more. Second dam Queenie Belle was a MGSW in California.
Sunday, Del Mar
CLEMENT L. HIRSCH S.-GI, $300,000, Del Mar, 7-29, 3yo/up, f/m, 1 1/16m, 1:44.40, ft.
1–UNIQUE BELLA, 123, f, 4, by Tapit
1st Dam: Unrivaled Belle (GISW, $1,854,706),
by Unbridled’s Song
2nd Dam: Queenie Belle, by Bertrando
3rd Dam: Lady Argyle, by Don B.
‘TDN Rising Star’. ($400,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-Don Alberto
Stable; B-Brushwood Stable (PA); T-Jerry Hollendorfer; J-Mike
Smith. $180,000. Lifetime Record: 12-9-2-0, $1,272,400.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick
Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*.
2–La Force (Ger), 119, f, 4, by Power (GB)
1st Dam: La Miraculeuse (Ger), by Samum (Ger)
2nd Dam: L’Heure Bleue (Ire), by Kendor (Fr)
3rd Dam: Loire Princesse (Ire), by Tate Gallery
(€22,000 RNA Ylg ’15 BBAGS). O-Ward & Roberta Williford &
Charles N. Winner; B-Gestut Karlshof (Ger); T-Patrick
Gallagher. $60,000.3–Bernina Star, 120, f, 4, by Harlan’s Holiday
1st Dam: Date to Remember, by Bernardini
2nd Dam: Fashion Star, by Chief’s Crown
3rd Dam: Miss Ivor, by Sir Ivor
($300,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-D P Racing; B-Siena Farms LLC
(KY); T-James M. Cassidy. $36,000. Margins: HF, 9 1/4, 3 1/4. Odds: 0.10, 8.20, 18.80.
Also Ran: Yuvetsi, Shenandoah Queen. Scratched: Turkish Tabby.
Click for the Equineline.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.