Unrivaled Belle Likely for Ladies Classic
Barring a last-minute decision, Unrivaled Belle will run in the Breeders’ Cup Ladies' Classic (gr. I) instead of the Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I), said Bill Mott, the filly’s Hall of Fame trainer, Nov. 1 at Churchill Downs.
Mott discussed the plan for the 4-year-old daughter of Unbridled’s Song after she worked four furlongs in :49 2/5 on a fast track. Unrivaled Belle was pre-entered in both Breeders' Cup races, which are scheduled for Nov. 5.
“I took a good look at it, actually,” Mott said. “I think she would be very competitive in the Filly & Mare Sprint going seven-eighths (of a mile). I think she would stand a very good chance in there.”
But all of Unrivaled Belle’s races this year have been at distances beyond a mile, “and she won going two turns (at Churchill Downs) in the spring. I guess (the Ladies' Classic) is really where the big reward is. We have an option, but I think the option that we’re going to take is the Classic.”
With Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux aboard for her work, Unrivaled Belle turned in splits of :13 1/5, :25 1/5, and :37 1/5. She galloped out five furlongs in 1:02 1/5.
“It was a maintenance work,” Desormeaux said. “It was just something to stretch her legs. We didn’t ask her for much. She works herself. She loves the game. She wants to play. She’s a racehorse. She wants to go as fast as she can, so I spent the whole work just keeping her quiet.”
Mott was satisfied with Unrivaled Belle’s effort. “It looked good,” he said. “She looked smooth to me. It looked like she was happy and moving well.”
Unrivaled Belle, bred and owned by Gary Seidler and Peter Vesgo, hasn’t won since taking the April 30 La Troienne Stakes (gr. II) at Churchill Downs over 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra. She finished second in the June 12 Ogden Phipps Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont Park, and was also second in the Aug. 1 Ruffian Invitational Handicap (gr. I) at Belmont.
Both Belmont races were around one turn, and Desormeaux believes Churchill’s two-turn layout for the 1 1/18-mile Ladies Classic will better suit Unrivaled Belle.
“The speed isn’t as stressful” in a two-turn race, Desormeaux said. “The speed doesn’t get away from her. It’s not as trying of a race going around two turns. In those one-turn races, they just flat out run. There’s no time for breathers; there’s no time to get air.
“Belmont is really quite deep. Churchill Downs is a little bit faster. I think she likes that. (The surface) is something she gets a hold of a lot better. With it being two turns, the speed stays right next to her and she’s able to be on the pace effortlessly instead of having to work to keep up. That allows her to finish stronger.”
Desormeaux also believes Unrivaled Belle is ready for a big effort.
“She’s doing super,” he said. “Being around her so much, she seems to be spot on. She’ll make sure the rest of them will bring their running shoes.”
Unrivaled Belle is out of the Betrando mare Queenie Belle.
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