Unique Bella seizes lead in Top Midlantic-bred Poll

by | Jun 9, 2018 | Breaking, Breeding, Racing, Regionwide, Top Stories

Unique Bella. Photo courtesy Santa Anita Park.

Staff report

Unique Bella survived a long duel with Paradise Woods June 2 in the Grade 1 Beholder Mile at Santa Anita and went on to win that race by over two lengths.

The victory was her second in Grade 1 company — and it propelled her to the top spot among older horses in the newest Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred/The Racing Biz Top Midlantic-bred Poll.

Unique Bella is a four-year-old filly by Tapit out of the millionaire Unbridled’s Song mare Unrivaled Belle. She was bred in Pennsylvania by Brushwood Stable. She was purchased for $400,000 by her current owners, Don Alberto Stable, at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale and is trained by Jerry Hollendorfer.

Thus far in 2018, Unique Bella has two wins and a second from three starts. She’s earned $500,000 this year to push her career number to almost $1.1 million.

Two of the five horses on the list of older horses are new to the list.

In fourth is Irish War Cry, the New Jersey-bred Curlin colt owned by his breeder, Isabelle de Tomaso. Irish War Cry earned his spot on the list when he recorded his first win in over a year in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special May 18. The Graham Motion trainee has a first and a second from three starts this year, and in his career has earned over $1.2 million.

In fifth is the seemingly ageless marvel, Page McKenney. The eight-year-old Pennsylvania-bred Eavesdropper gelding rallied late to take the Grade 3 Salvator Mile at Monmouth Park May 26, registering his second win from three starts this year. Trained by Mary Eppler for Adam Staple and Jalin Stable, Page McKenney, a horse Eppler claimed for $16,000 early in his career, now has 22 wins and almost $1.9 million in career earnings.

Among three-year-olds, the top four — Blamed, Cosmic Burst, Still Having Fun, and Goodonehoney — remain the same from May.

In fifth is the list’s lone new addition, the John Servis trainee Midnight Poker. The Pennsylvania-bred Smarty Jones gelding won the first four starts of his career, including the Robert Hilton Memorial Stakes at Charles Town April 21, before tasting defeat for the first time. He ran second last weekend in the Danzig Stakes for state-breds at Penn National. He was bred by Four Bucks Racing and is owned by Main Line Racing Stable.

Of the 10 horses in the twin polls, five were bred in Pennsylvania and three were bred in Maryland. One each was bred in Virginia and New Jersey. Four are females and six are males.

The monthly Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred is the only publication devoted to Thoroughbred breeding and racing in the Mid-Atlantic region. The Racing Biz, an online publication, is the independent voice for mid-Atlantic racing and breeding.

The poll is restricted to horses that have run in 2018 and were bred in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, New Jersey, Delaware, and the Carolinas.



  1. Blamed (MD) — filly by Blame-Salsa Star, by Giant’s Causeway; bred by Sagamore Farm; trained by Joel Marr for Cleber J. Massey; won El Paso Times S., Island Fashion S., Sunland Park Oaks. Last month: 1st
  2. Cosmic Burst (PA) — filly by Violence-Peggy Ring, by Ghostzapper; bred by Pewter Stable; trained by Donnie Von Hemel for Norma Lee Stockseth and Todd Dunn; won G3 Honeybee Stakes. Last month: 2nd
  3. Still Having Fun (MD) — colt by Old Fashioned-Casual Kiss, by Dehere; bred by Tim Keefe and Mr. and Mrs. Charles McGinnes; owned by Gary Barber, Wachtel Stable, and Terp Racing LLC; won Miracle Wood S., Whiteley S. Last month: 3rd.
  4. Goodonehoney (MD) — Filly by Great Notion-Diva’s Gold, by Tenpins; bred by Kasey K Racing Stable; trained by Jason Egan for Kasey K Racing Stable, Michael R. Day, and Final Turn Racing Stable LLC; won Weber City Miss S. Last month: 4th
  5. Midnight Poker (PA) — Gelding by Smarty Jones-Halo Hollie, by Halo’s Image; bred by Four Bucks Racing; trained by John Servis for Main Line Racing Stable; won Robert Hilton Memorial S. Last month: NA

Also receiving votes: Smokinpaddylassie, Smooth B, Bronx Beauty, William and Mary, Limited View, V. I. P. Code, Daddy Is a Legend





  1. Unique Bella (PA) — 4yo filly by Tapit-Unrivaled Belle, by Unbridled’s Song; bred by Brushwood Stable; trained by Jerry Hollendorfer for Don Alberto Stable; won G1 Beholder Mile, G2 Santa Maria, 2nd Grade 1 Apple Blossom. Last month: 2nd.
  2. One Go All Go (VA) — 6yo horse by Fairbanks-See Ashleigh Run, by Marquetry; bred by Albert P. Coppola; trained by Charles Dickey for Rodney Paden; Won Grade 2 Dixiana Elkhorn S., 2nd G2 Mac Diarmida S., 2nd G2 Ft. Lauderdale S., 2nd G2 Pan American S., 3rd G1 Man o’ War S. Last month: 3rd.
  3. Army Mule (PA) — 4yo ridgling by Friesan Fire-Crafty Toast, by Crafty Prospector; bred by Hope Hill Farm; trained by Todd Pletcher for St. Elias Stable; won G1 Carter H. Last month: 1st.
  4. Irish War Cry (NJ) — 4yo colt by Curlin-Irish Sovereign, by Polish Numbers; bred and owned by Isabelle de Tomaso, and trained by Graham Motion; won G3 Pimlico Special. Last month: NA.
  5. Page McKenney (PA) — 8yo gedling by Eavesdropper-Winning Grace, by Yarrow Brae; bred by Dr. James Bryant and Linda Davis; trained by Mary Eppler for Adam Staple and Jalin Stable; won G3 Salvator Mile, Old Hickory Stakes. Last month: NA.

Also receiving votes: Oak Bluffs, Senior Senator, Zanclus



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.



Top Midlantic-breds in action this weekend

  • Still Having Fun is 15-1 on the morning line in the Grade 2 Woody Stephens Stakes Saturday at Belmont Park.
  • One Go All Go is 12-1 on the morning line in the Grade 1 Manhattan Stakes Saturday at Belmont Park.