Bell's the One to Skip Breeders' Cup, Now Prepares for Night of the Stars Sale

Bell's The One, the leading earner for trainer Neil Pessin, will skip this year's Breeders' Cup and point toward the Fasig-Tipton November Sale. Coady


A few weeks before Bell's the One (Majesticperfection – Street Mate, by Street Cry {Ire}) made her career debut, her trainer Neil Pessin set aside a few dollars to place a wager on the promising juvenile. But in the days leading up to the race, he started to rethink the idea.

Every morning as Bell's the One went out to gallop, the juvenile would stop in the middle of the track, somewhere around the sixteenth pole, and refuse to move. Pessin would have to take to the track, red-faced with frustration, to lead her off to the barn.

He cut down his bet considerably the morning of her debut only to watch a few hours later as she won with ease at Arlington, paying $67.80 to win.

That was the last time Pessin had anything less than full confidence going into a race with Bell's the One. Four years since that first career victory, Bell's the One is now a five-time graded stakes winner with over $2 million in earnings and has collected stakes wins in each of her five seasons on the racetrack.

“Every time I lead her over, I expect her to win,” Pessin said. “If she gets beat, it's either human error or…well, usually it's human error. If she gets to run her race and she shows up, which she does most of the time, she's hard to beat. She gives you 110% every time. I'm as confident as anybody in the race when I put her bridle on.”

While Bell's the One was originally slated to run in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, Pessin and her connections made the decision on Tuesday to skip the championship meet.

“She had a minor setback that will prevent us from running,” her trainer said. “I've always said that if she's not 100%, we're not going. She could be 95% or 99%, but we're not taking that chance with her. It's just a timing thing. If we had three more weeks we would probably be able to run, but she has done right by me for five years so I've got to do right by her for this race. But she earned her right to be there. ”

While Bell's the One won't make it to the Breeders' Cup starting gate, she will be in the spotlight in a few weeks for the Fasig-Tipton 'Night of the Stars' Sale. Until then, she will remain at Pessin's barn at Churchill Downs.

“She's still in light training,” Pessin explained. “We want to keep her in her same routine. She'll train just to keep her looking good. She's doing great. She is six going on seven and she's getting better every year.”

Bell's the One, who is easily the most accomplished horse in Pessin's training career, has been a fixture at the conditioner's barn at Churchill Downs over the years. While the 6-year-old mare grew out of most of the obstinate tendencies she had as a juvenile, Pessin said that there has never been a question of who ruled the stable.

“Oh, she is the queen,” he said. “She tells us what to do. She tells me how to train her and when to run her. She probably gets, at minimum, 50 mints a day. But that's lowballing.”

Pessin picked out Bell's the One for Bob Lothenbach's Lothenbach Stables at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton July Sale. Drawn to the Bret Jones-bred filly for her athleticism and cat-like walk, they brought home the daughter of Majesticperfection for $155,000.

“We thought it was a pretty good deal at the time, but she turned out to be even more athletic than she was as a yearling,” Pessin said. “She has always shown ability from the first day we worked her.”

Undefeated in three starts including a stakes win at two and the winner of the GII Raven Run S. at three, Bell's the One got her signature victory at four with a photo-finish win over GISW Serengeti Empress (Alternation) in the 2020 GI Derby City Distaff S. on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

The achievement marked not only the first Grade I win for Bell's the One, but also for her trainer, who runs a boutique stable of about 15 horses.

“Winning that race was extremely satisfying not so much for me, but for her,” Pessin said. “I don't really care about all that stuff. I don't care if I get an award or get patted on the back. I care about the horses. When she won, it was satisfying for me because it just proved how much quality she has and how good of a mare she is.”

Bell's the One added two more graded scores to her resume at five in the GII Honorable Miss H. at Saratoga and the GII Thoroughbred Club of America S. This year, the 6-year-old ran second in the GI Madison S. and most recently won two lucrative stakes contests at Churchill Downs.


While the Bell's the One fan club has grown over the years, Pessin said that two of the mare's biggest admirers have been her jockey Corey Lanerie, who has been aboard for all but a handful of her 27 career starts, and her owner Bob Lothenbach.

“I can't tell you how great Bob has been to train for,” Pessin said. “He doesn't interfere with what we do on the day to day or the races we pick. He just loves the sport and he is a wonderful owner. He cares about the horses, too.”

When Bell's the One returns to Fasig-Tipton, the site where her story began back in 2017, for the 'Night of the Stars' Sale, she will sell as Hip 267 with Taylor Made Sales.

While the millionaire's outstanding race record speaks for itself, Fasig-Tipton's Boyd Browning said that the mare's pedigree will hold equal appeal for buyers. Her dam Street Mate (Street Cry {Ire}) was bred by successful owner-breeder Edward Evans and her produce record boasts six winners from as many to race including recent GIII Knickerbocker S. victor King Cause (Creative Cause).

“I think that Bell's the One really is a unique pedigree,” Browning said. “It's truly a reflection of the breeding program that was so important to Ned Evans. She typifies the type of horse that Ned wanted to breed-Grade I horse, durable, consistent and with heart.”

“Bell's the One has all the ingredients to be a successful producer,” he continued. “She tries hard every time. She's got pedigree. She's got heart. She's got the speed, but she also has the class in her pedigree that will allow her descendants to carry that speed a distance. She's just a tremendous prospect that will likely produce terrific racehorses for the next generation.”

While she will soon become an important addition to someone's broodmare band, Bell's the One will be sorely missed back at the Pessin barn and her empty stall overlooking Longfield Avenue at Churchill Down will not go unnoticed.

“When Bell leaves the barn, there will be a huge hole,” Pessin admitted. “It won't be a hole that will be filled. It'll just be a void for a while. I'll miss just walking down the barn and playing with her and giving her mints.  I'll miss leading her over there, knowing you're going to win the race. It's a special feeling, just having her here.”

Pessin may be soon parting with the most accomplished horse he has ever trained for now, but there is one thing he is sure of.

“I'll go see her wherever she goes,” he said. “Whatever farm she's at, I'll be there. If she goes to Japan, I'm going to Japan. They'll just have to get ready for me to come over. And if she throws off the athleticism that she has to her foals, I think she'll be a great broodmare.”

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