MIKE SMITH, UNIQUE BELLA, WINNER: “It was pretty eventful. Sometimes you just stay out of the way of the good ones and they’ll run for you. That’s pretty much what I did today…I was blessed enough to be able to lead my way out.”
JOE TALAMO, ABEL TASMAN, SECOND: “Turning for home I had a lot of horse under me. Hats off to the winner, what a special filly she is, because like I said I really had a lot of horse and we had a beautiful trip. The winner broke a little slow which I was happy to see. I was so proud of my filly. I think she’s definitely going to move forward from here.”
JERRY HOLLENDORFER, UNIQUE BELLA, WINNER: “She’s been coming along quite well, we’re real happy with her. She didn’t get away great today, but we’ll fix that.
“Yes, the Santa Anita Oaks is our next point race. It’s a perfect progression.
“We have a very talented filly and we’d like to look at the Kentucky Oaks. We like to take one step at a time. We’d like to go for the Santa Anita Oaks, and if we win or do well, then we’ll try to go to Kentucky.
“It’s a great honor to be considered the front-runner for the Kentucky Oaks. We’re blessed to have good horses so I feel really grateful to have a horse like Unique Bella and equally as grateful for Songbird last year.
“We’re just trying to do our best and she’s rewarding us.
“I don’t have any thoughts about running her against the boys, but some other folk’s do I guess.
“When I saw her come into the lane I felt that she was waiting on horses a little bit. Mike had to wave the stick at her a little but she responded right away. I wasn’t too worried.
“I was wondering if Mike would stay on the rail or get out in the open and he chose to get out in the open.
“I hope they don’t have to match up this year (Songbird and Unique Bella.) I had enough match up with Beholder. That was a pretty good match-up.”
FERNANDO DIAZ-VALDES, RACING MANAGER FOR DON ALBERTO STABLE, UNIQUE BELLA, WINNER: “When we got to the stretch Mike told me he was looking around but when he asked her she immediately answered. It was a little slow. I would think the pace would have been a little bit faster. I was expecting more speed. Finally, it’s one step closer with what we want to do with her. I think Santa Anita Oaks for sure.”
NOTES: The winning owner, Carlos Heller of Don Alberto Stable, resides in Lexington, KY.