Unique Bella top mover among Top Midlantic-breds
Unique Bella is back — and she’s climbing the polls.
The three-year-old, Pennsylvania-bred Tapit filly made her first start in seven months October 8, and she made short work of her overmatched foes in the Grade 3 L. A. Woman Stakes at Santa Anita Park, winning by over three lengths at 1-5 odds.
As a result, voters in the latest Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll rewarded her, moving her up from fifth place in the poll to third, making her the month’s biggest mover.
Unique Bella, out of the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (then called the Ladies’ Classic because… you know… well, who knows?) winner Unrivaled Belle, has won all four of her starts this season and five of six overall in her short career. Her four wins this year have all come in graded stakes company, and she now has career earnings of over $400,000.
Unique Bella was bred in the Keystone State by Brushwood Stable and is owned by Don Alberto Stable, who get her as a yearling at Keeneland’s September sale for the relatively modest price — given her breeding — of $400,000. She’s trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.
All of the top seven in the poll were also in the top seven last month. The only other runner in action during the past month was Page McKenney, who scored a 6-1 upset in the Pennsylvania Derby Champion Stakes September 21 for the 20th victory of his stellar career. He has a record of 7-4-2-0 this year for trainer Mary Eppler, and his career earnings now top $1.7 million. With the win, he inched up from seventh place to sixth overall, edging out Green Gratto, who dropped to seventh.
The poll is conducted monthly among a panel of industry participants and media members.
Of the seven horses on the list, four were bred in Pennsylvania. Two were bred in New Jersey, while there was also one Virginia-bred. Four are males, and three are females.
The monthly Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred is the only publication devoted to Thoroughbred breeding and racing in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Racing Biz is the independent voice for mid-Atlantic racing and breeding and includes an online publication, a mobile application, and the weekly Off to the Races radio show.
The poll is restricted to horses that have run in 2017 and were bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Carolinas.
- (last month: 2nd) Stellar Wind (VA) — 5yo mare by Curlin-Evening Star, by Malibu Moon; bred by Keswick Stables & Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC; trained by John Sadler for Hronis Racing LLC; won G1 Apple Blossom, G1 Beholder Mile, G1 Clement L. Hirsch
- (1st) Mor Spirit (PA) — 4yo ridgling by Eskendereya-Im a Dixie Girl, by Dixie Union; bred by Elkstone Group LLC; trained by Bob Baffert for Michael Lund Peterson; won G1 Met Mile, G3 Steve Sexton Mile, second G2 San Antonio S., won Essex H.
- (5th) Unique Bella (PA) — by Tapit-Unrivaled Belle, by Unbridled’s Song; bred by Brushwood Stable; trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Don Alberto Stable; in 2017 won G2 Santa Ynez, G2 Las Virgenes, G3 Santa Ysabel, G3 L. A. Woman
- (3rd) Irish War Cry (NJ) — by Curlin-Irish Sovereign, by Polish Numbers; trained by Graham Motion for owner-breeder Isabelle de Tomaso; won G2 Holy Bull, G2 Wood Memorial, 2nd G1 Belmont S.
- (4th) Finest City (PA) — 5yo mare by City Zip-Be Envied, by Lemon Drop Kid; bred by HnR Nothhaft Horseracing, LLC; trained by Ian Kruljac for Seltzer Thoroughbreds; won G2 Santa Monica, second G1 Santa Margarita, G1 Humana Distaff, 3rd G1 Beholder Mile, G2 Great Lady M S.
- (7th) Page McKenney (PA) — 7yo gelding by Eavesdropper-Winning Grace, by Yarrow Brae; bred by Dr. James Bryant and Linda Davis, owned by Adam Staple and Jalin Stable, trained by Mary Eppler; won Native Dancer S., Lyman S., Roanoke S., Pennsylvani Derby Champion Stakes
- (6th) Green Gratto (NJ) — 7yo horse by Here’s Zealous-Starship Smokester, by Smokester; bred by Kaz Hill Farm; trained by Gaston Grant for himself and Anthony Grant; won G1 Carter H., G3 Toboggan S.
Also receiving votes: Just Howard, Long On Value, Just Call Kenny, American Dubai, All the Way Jose, Chublicious, Power of Snunner, Moonlit Song
TOP MIDLANTIC-BREDS IN ACTION THIS WEEKEND
Participating Voters: Ted Black (freelance writer), Michael Campbell (Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association of New Jersey), Joe Clancy (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred), Cindy Deubler (Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred), Linda Dougherty (freelance), Debbie Easter (Virginia Thoroughbred Association), Paul Espinosa (Charles Town Races), Anne Frederick (Maryland Horse Breeders Association), Rich Glazier (Delaware Park), Cricket Goodall (Maryland Horse Breeders Association), Jim Hague (freelance), Nick Hahn (freelance), Carol Holden (West Virginia Breeders Classics), Tom LaMarra (The Blood-Horse), Jeff Nations (freelance), Kate Painter (West Virginia Thoroughbred Breeders Association), Vinnie Perrone (freelance), Frank Petramalo (Virginia Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association), Gary Quill (The Racing Biz), David Richardson (Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association), Brian Sanfratello (Pennsylvania Horse Breeders Association), Sal Sinatra (Maryland Jockey Club), Chris Sobocinski (Delaware Park), Dan Tordjman (freelance), Frank Vespe (The Racing Biz), Bill Watson (freelance), Lydia Williams (freelance), Bobby Zen (freelance).
Note — Not all participating voters will vote in every poll.