MIKE SMITH, UNIQUE BELLA, WINNER: “She was a little aggressive in the gate and she was off a tad slow. I probably could have moved her, set her up a bit differently in order for her to break better, but I was scared to do that and make her react and do something I wouldn’t want her to do.
“When I saw everyone else send, I thought it was a good time to take a hold of her and see what happens. It didn’t seem to bother her. When we hit the far turn, it was like she was breathing different air.
“The decisions I make are quick, but you have to make it all seem casual. Otherwise, it gets to be too quick, too fast and you can react too quickly yourself and make matters worse. You have to always be prepared for Plan B and Plan C if need be.
“Now, it’s more reasonable to compare her (to champion, 4-year-old filly Songbird). Again, she’s very, very talented but with room to grow. Hopefully with each step, she’ll get smarter about certain things. I’m just blessed, that’s all I can say.”
FLAVIEN PRAT, FAVORED SHANE’S GIRLFRIEND, THIRD: “She broke well, we broke on top, but we got pressure right away from the inside and the outside. I thought we could be second, but we weren’t going to beat the winner today.”
JERRY HOLLENDORFER, UNIQUE BELLA, WINNER: “Well, I’ve always liked her. Today, she showed that she’s brilliant. We thought she’d jump out of there a little better. I thought she would be close to the lead. Mike used his judgement, got behind and then got to the outside so it worked out well and our other filly also got Grade II placed, so we’re very pleased right now.
“We’ll relax a little bit and see where we go next. We purposely waited this long with her and pointed towards this race. I don’t know if we’ve seen all there is to Unique Bella but I’ll ask Mike.”
NOTES: The winning owner, Don Alberto of Don Alberto Stable, resides in Lexington, KY.