Unrivaled Belle, winner of the 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I), lit up the Keeneland bid board during the Nov. 9 session of the November breeding stock sale when the daughter of Unbridled’s Song was purchased for $3.8 million by Mandy Pope's Whisper Hill Farm.
Consigned by Eaton Sales, the 10-year-old mare becomes the highest-priced horse to sell thus far during the exercise.
Out of the Bertrando mare, Queenie Belle, Unrivaled Belle sold in foal to leading sire Tapit and boasts a stout female family to back up her good looks and race record. Queenie Belle herself was a multiple graded stakes winner and is a half sister to graded stakes winner Canon Can.
Pope outlasted representatives of Don Alberto in a protracted bidding battle, with the former initally shaking their heads at $3.7 million only throw down one last bid of $3.75 million just as the gavel was about to fall. Pope would not yield, raising the bidding one more time to $3.8 million as she added to her boutique broodmare collection that also includes 2011 Horse of the Year Havre de Grace and champion Groupie Doll.
"I am done shopping," Pope exclaimed with a laugh. "She's gorgeous. I'll breed her back to Tapit. What a hell of a racehorse.T hat ($3.8 million) was about it for me. She's a big size mare, rangy, good bone. I think she'll be a good fit for Tapit. It's very exciting."
Unrivaled Belle had been purchased by Brushwood Stable for $2.8 million from the Eaton Sales group at the 2011 Keeneland November sale.
"You never know what they're going to do really past a million," said Reiley McDonald of Eaton Sales. "You don't ever want to get greedy in your thoughts prior to the sale. Mandy really bought a unique mare and...her value could go up for the $3.8 million. It was a win-win for everybody."
Trained by Bill Mott for Peter Vegso and Gary Seidler, Unrivaled Belle defeated some of the best fillies and mares in the country during a career in which she won or placed in 13 of 16 starts and earned $1,854,706.
In addition to winning the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic (gr. I), now the Distaff, the mare also won the La Troienne Stakes (gr. II), Rampart (gr. III), and Real Prize Stakes. She had the distinction of finishing second in four grade I stakes—Gazelle, Ogden Phipps, Ruffian Invitational, and Beldame--as well as the La Troienne.