Unique Bella was indeed a special filly Saturday in the G2 $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The 4-year-old filly went wire-to-wire in the 1 1/16-mile event, racing to a nine-length win for her seventh win over her nine career starts.
Unique Bella, out of Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic winner Unrivaled Belle and Tapit, was clocked at 1:43.45, much to the pleasure of Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.
“I really don’t think we’ve seen how good she can be,” Smith said, via Paulickreport.com. “I’ve surely seen how easily she’s doing things right now which I think is extremely impressive. I truly believe we haven’t gotten to the bottom of it. There could even be more to her.
“I’m excited to see what the future holds for her, I really am. There are some different things we can do with her too because of her size. She probably can step up to the boys at some point. Who knows because she’s not just a one-gutted kind of filly. She’s got a lot to her. She’s built more like a colt.”
Unique Bella became the first filly in 15 years to win the G1 La Brea and then the Santa Maria, according to the Los Angeles Times.
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Unique Bella, owned by Don Alberto Stables and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, took home $120,000 for theSanta Maria Stakes win, increasing her earnings to $712,400.
“We thought we would be on the lead,” Hollendorfer said, “but Mike (Smith) was talking with me this morning, and we thought that if somebody went real hard or something lie that we’d just try to lay off the pace and see if she would relax, but she got out to the lead and was handling the track very well. I think she really got a hold of the track today.”
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