Back to serious training in 2017, the only horse to beat Unique Bella will make her return to racing April 9 in the $75,000 Santa Paula Stakes at Santa Anita.
- Gray or Roan Filly
- Born 2014
Unique Bella, considered a leading contender for this year's Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1), has been sidelined with a shin issue.
Following its business plan of purchasing mid-priced yearlings with the pedigrees and athleticism to move forward as both pinhooks and as racehorses, Excel Bloodstock targets the Barretts March sale each year.
Unique Bella, unbeaten in all but one of her five starts, posted a bullet six-furlong work the morning of March 19 in 1:11 1/5 to be the best of 10 at that distance at Santa Anita Park.
Don Alberto Stable's Unique Bella finally got a challenge March 4 in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3), but shrugged it off in the final furlong to reestablish her standing as the current favorite for the Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1).
Unique Bella will take on two fresh grade 1 winners in her next step toward Churchill Downs on the first Friday in May in the $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) March 4 at Santa Anita Park.
The number of early nominees to the 143rd Longines Kentucky Oaks is down only slightly from last year's 114 nominees.
Multiple graded stakes winner and Longines Kentucky Oaks (G1) contender Unique Bella was sent out for a five-furlong move early Feb. 23 at Santa Anita Park. She breezed in 1:00 1/5 for her expected start in the March 4 Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3).
The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues Saturday and Sunday with the Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap (G1) and Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3).
The 3-year-old Tapit filly owned by Don Alberto Stable and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer appeared as if she was just out for a breezy spin in her two-turn debut under jockey Mike Smith.
Champagne Room, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2016, will be in a unique position Feb. 5 at Santa Anita Park, where she'll make her 3-year-old debut in the Las Virgenes Stakes. The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner likely won't be favored.
Although the Tapit filly opened up as the 1-5 favorite in the $200,000 Santa Ynez Stakes (G2), when the gates opened she was not the favorite, but she performed like she was odds-on.
In her last start, Shane's Girlfriend shipped east to Louisiana for the Delta Downs Princess Stakes (G3) and absolutely dominated nine other fillies to win 13 1/4 lengths.
|Jockey||Mike E. Smith|
|Owner||Don Alberto Stable|
|Unique Bella View Five-Cross Pedigree||Tapit||Pulpit|
|Tap Your Heels|
|Unrivaled Belle||Unbridled's Song|
|Sale / Hip||Type||Buyer||Consignor||Price|
|Yearling||Don Alberto Corp.||Eaton Sales, agent||$400,000|
|Lookin At Lee|
|Conquest Mo Money|
|Term of Art|