A finalist for 2017 Eclipse Awards as champion 3-year-old filly and champion female sprinter, Unique Bella has a few things in common with her dam, Unrivaled Belle. That includes Grade 1 victories for Hall of Fame trainers and appearances in the Keeneland sales ring.
Unrivaled Belle, a daughter of Unbridled’s Song, is a graduate of Keeneland’s 2007 September Yearling Sale. Trained by Bill Mott, she won the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs and was a finalist for the Eclipse Award as champion older mare. The earner of $1,854,706, Unrivaled Belle was consigned as a broodmare prospect to Keeneland’s 2011 November Breeding Stock Sale by Eaton Sales, agent, and sold to Betty Moran’s Brushwood Stable for $2.8 million – the sale’s fourth-highest price.
Bred to Tapit, Unrivaled Belle in 2014 produced Unique Bella, consigned by Eaton Sales, agent, to the September Sale the next year as Hip 8.
“She always showed that she had a lot of class and a lot of quality about her since breaking, pre-training and starting. When Jerry got her, I understand that he always liked her and thought that she had a lot of talent.” - Fabricio Buffolo on Unique Bella
Carlos Heller of Chilean-based Don Alberto Corporation noticed Unique Bella early in the sale, which cataloged 4,164 horses over 12 sessions, thanks to a unique circumstance.
“Carlos and the team was there because we were selling (horses),” Fabricio Buffolo, Executive Director of Don Alberto, said. “Carlos saw (Unique Bella’s) page and he became interested and went to the back to see her, liked her and ended up buying her.”
Don Alberto sent Unique Bella to another Hall of Fame trainer, Jerry Hollendorfer
“She always showed that she had a lot of class and a lot of quality about her since breaking, pre-training and starting,” Buffolo said. “When Jerry got her, I understand that he always liked her and thought that she had a lot of talent.”
Late in 2016, Unrivaled Belle, again in foal to Tapit, returned to Keeneland with the Eaton Sales consignment and topped the November Sale when purchased for $3.8 million by Mandy Pope’s Whisper Hill Farm.
By the end of the month, Unique Bella had scored her first victory, winning by 10¼ lengths at Del Mar, and proved she was ready for stiffer competition. She rose to the challenge in 2017, winning four consecutive graded stakes races: Santa Ynez (G2), Las Virgenes (G2), Santa Ysabel (G3) and L.A. Woman (G3). Unique Bella capped 2017 by winning the La Brea (G1) at Santa Anita.
Buffolo expressed the Don Alberto team’s excitement about Unique Bella being an Eclipse Award finalist:
“The whole operation in the U.S. is still quite new, but it’s already very influential,” he said. “That’s a major compliment for Carlos and his mother, Liliana (Solari), who are very passionate about horses and they deserve to be recognized and have an award like that.”
The Eclipse Awards will be presented Thursday, Jan. 25, at Gulfstream Park.