Unique Bella on the Comeback Trail

September 17, 2017 02:57am

We last saw the big gray filly in the Grade 3 Santa Ysabel as she put away future multiple Grade 1 winner Abel Tasman. Shortly afterward Unique Bella was sidelined due to sore shins. Escaping the big gray shadow, Abel Tasman went on to win three Grade 1 races, the Kentucky Oaks, the Acorn, and the Coaching Club Oaks.

The Tapit filly, who won her last three races by 28 lengths, had injected excitement into the world of racing. At almost 17 hands the beautiful gray filly had star power and was gathering more fans each time she stepped on the track with regular jockey, Mike Smith. Owned by Don Alberto Stables and trained by Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, the big filly seemed destined for greater things when she had to be sidelined.

Now she’s coming back and using the Grade 3  L.A. Woman Stakes at Santa Anita, which is on October 8th, as a prep race for the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

I spoke with assistant trainer, Dan Ward. Ward said,”I’ve been with her every day and have noticed she’s grown and gotten a lot bigger and stronger than she was.” Ward also commented on the Del Mar track, “It’s going to be really important that they like the track….Bella loves it.”

Mike Smith worked her today and was very excited about her progress. She ran 5 furlongs in 58.20. She ran the best time for that distance today.

In July, Don Alberto racing manager, Fernando Diaz-Valdes, said that because she was a big filly, they gave her extra time off to recuperate. He also said that she would not retire at the end of the year, which is great news for all racing fans.


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Meet Mary Dixon Reynolds

Mary Dixon Reynolds’ passion for horses began at an early age. She grew up riding, showing and training Arabians. The great Curlin brought her into horse racing and the celebrated filly, Rachel Alexandra, solidified her love of the sport. The amateur handicapper found beginner's luck during her first outing to a racetrack, the now-defunct Colonial Downs near Richmond, Va.

From a small town in the the Tar Heel state, Mary Dixon studied English literature and journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for three years before graduating at Guilford College. She shares a passion for F. Scott Fitzgerald with her favorite writer, the late William L. Nack, whose books she possesses and are well worn from rereading.

Mary Dixon first appeared on Horse Racing Nation as a guest columnist, writing articles about California Chrome, his fan base, and the great filly Songbird. She aspires to bring new people into our sport and to promote thoroughbred aftercare, recognizing that for our sport to thrive, we must take care of our athletes after they leave the track

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