Unique Bella wins L.A. Woman Stakes at Santa Anita
By Art Wilson
ARCADIA >> Unique Bella proved long ago she’s a fast filly. On Sunday, she showed she’s also a good sport.
Spotting her five overmatched rivals a head start after she slipped leaving the gate, Unique Bella regrouped nicely as the 1-5 favorite and posted a 3 1/2-length victory in the $100,345 Grade III L.A. Woman Stakes at Santa Anita in a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Del Mar on Nov. 4.
“A little adversity in the beginning, but Mike (jockey Mike Smith) handles that very well,” winning trainer Jerry Hollendorfer said after the 3-year-old filly returned from a 31-week break because of shin problems to record her fifth victory in six lifetime starts. She’s won her races by a total of 32 1/4 lengths.
“When (Smith) asked her to rate a little bit she had her head up a little bit, but then she settled right down and got down to business. It looked like (Smith) rode her confidently the whole race.”
Fernando Diaz, racing manager for owner Don Alberto Stable, admitted to some anxiety while bringing the Tapit filly back from such a long layoff. But in the end, it all worked out.
“It’s been a period there to wait, but you have to be patient,” Diaz said. “We had to skip the Santa Anita Oaks and then the Kentucky Oaks. Everybody said we had the horse to beat. It was painful, to be honest, but you have to do what’s best for the horse.
“She’s sound now and the future looks bright. It’s great to have her back.”
Smith said the tardy break may actually play in Unique Bella’s favor as they head to the Breeders’ Cup race, which at seven furlongs is a half-furlong longer than Sunday’s race.
“Sometimes things happen for a reason,” he said. “I think she got […]