ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 10, 2018)–In what amounted to a stroll in the park at The Great Race Place, Eclipse Champion Unique Bella waltzed to a seemingly effortless nine length victory in Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes under Mike Smith. Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, the 4-year-old Pennsylvania-bred daughter of Tapit got a mile and one sixteenth in gate to wire fashion in 1:43.45 while geared down late.
Breaking sharply from her number four post position, Unique Bella made an easy lead going into the Club House turn with Majestic Heat in hot pursuit. At the quarter pole, she opened up three lengths on Majestic Heat and increased that margin with consummate ease, as expressed by track announcer Michael Wrona at the wire:
“Unique Bella, twelve hundred pounds of horsepower, and she’s dominated the Santa Maria, from the gate opening.”
A three quarter length winner of the Grade I La Brea Stakes on Dec. 26, Unique Bella was the prohibitive 1-9 favorite in a field of five older fillies and mares and paid $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10.
Crowned 2017’s Eclipse Champion Filly Sprinter, Unique Bella is owned by Don Alberto Stable, which collected $120,000 for the win, increasing her earnings to $712,400. Her overall mark now stands at 9-7-1-0.
In what amounted to a separate race, Mopotism outran Majestic Heat in the final sixteenth of a mile to run second by 1 ¼ lengths.
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Mopotism was off at 6-1 and paid $2.80 and $2.10.
Majestic Heat, with Flavien Prat up, finished 9 ½ lengths in front of Shenandoah Queen. Off at 8-1, Majestic Heat paid $2.10 to show.
Fractions on the race were 23.54, 46.80, 1:10.95 and 1:36.49.