ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 23, 2016)–Trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s budding superstar filly Unique Bella was sent out for an impressive five furlong breeze in 1:00.20 “breezing” early Thursday morning as she prepares for what her connections hope will be her fourth consecutive win in the Grade III Santa Ysabel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 4.
A 3-year-old Kentucky-bred daughter of Tapit, Unique Bella came onto Santa Anita’s main track at 5:30 a.m. and went about her five furlong assignment without a hitch as she seeks to follow-up on a dazzling 8 ¾ length win here going a flat mile in the Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes on Feb. 5–which came on the heels of a 7 ½ length triumph in the Grade II Santa Ynez Stakes at seven furlongs Jan. 8.
“She went very easy,” said Dan Ward, assistant to Hollendorfer. “It was an easy work, like always. She was nice and smooth and very relaxed. Edgar (Rodriguez, regular exercise rider) has got her going off slow and coming home fast. I see her getting more and more relaxed as time goes by. We had her getting her last eighth in 11 and 4/5s.”
Owned by Don Alberto Stable and ridden in all four of her career starts by Mike Smith, Unique Bella, who broke her maiden going 6 ½ furlongs in her second start on Nov. 26 at Del Mar, has won her last three races by a combined 16 ½ lengths and thus has many observers comparing her to her multiple Eclipse Award winning stablemate, Songbird, who lost by a nose to Beholder in an epic running of the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff here on Nov. 4 and was subsequently named America’s Champion 3-year-old Filly.
Although long range plans for Unique Bella have not been announced, Hollendorfer said following her win in the Las Virgenes that short range objectives call for her to stay with her gender and run in the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on April 8 and in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks on May 5.