Pa-bred multiple stakes winner Unique Bella fractured her sesamoid during a morning work on Saturday, Aug. 18 at Del Mar and has been retired from racing.
Bred by Betty Moran's Brushwood Stable in Malvern, Pa., 4-year-old Unique Bella was sold for $400,000 at the Keeneland September Yearling Sale to Don Alberto Corp., the entity which raced her throughout her career
By Tapit out of Unrivaled Belle, by Unbridled’s Song, Unique Bella was trained throughout her career by Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by Mike Smith.
The grey mare started 12 times, winning nine times and placing second twice and earning $1,272,400.
Her only bad race was in the G1 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint on Nov. 4, 2017 at Del Mar when she placed seventh over a track that she, along with a number of other other favorites, clearly didn't like.
Unique Bella finished second in her first start, a maiden special weight at Santa Anita on June 23, 2016 before winning a maiden race at Del Mar on Nov. 26, 2016, and she also finished second to Unbridled Mo this year at Oaklawn on April 13 in the G1 Apple Blossom Handicap.
ALL HER OTHER wins were in graded stakes at Santa Anita and Del Mar,
She won two G3 races and two G2 races in 2017, one G2 in 2018 and three G1 races, one in 2017 and two this year, including the G1 Beholder Stakes on June 2 and the G1 Clement L. Hirsch on July 29.
She was voted an Eclipse Award last year after beating Paradise Woods, by Union Rags, in the GI La Brea Stakes.
Her career-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure came for her 9 length win in the G2 Santa Maria Stakes this year on Feb. 10.
“Unique Bella has a very special place in our hearts and has brought so much joy to myself, my mother Liliana and the whole Don Alberto family,” said Don Alberto principle Carlos Heller in the Thoroughbred Daily News. “She blessed us with our first Grade I win in the US and we will be forever grateful for her and her time on the track. We are disappointed to announce her retirement, however her health and well-being come first for us at Don Alberto. That’s what we are here for, to do what’s in the best interest of the horse. I want to congratulate Jerry Hollendorfer and Mike Smith who together guided her to a stellar campaign culminating in becoming an Eclipse champion. I think it’s a remarkable achievement to have won G1s over seven furlong, a mile and a mile and sixteenth. We look forward to having her at our farm in Lexington, where she will enjoy her new career as a broodmare.”
Unique Bella's dam Unrivaled Belle was bought by Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm for $3.8 million at Keeneland November in 2016, and she foaled a full-sister to Unique Bella in 2017 and a colt by Tapit this year.