Don Alberto Stable’s Unique Bella pulled off yet another easy victory on Saturday when taking the $100,345 Santa Ysabel Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park by 2 1/4 lengths.
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer and ridden by Mike Smith, Unique Bella was challenged by Abel Tasman in the stretch. The 5-1 second choice drew close to the heavy 1-10 favorite before Smith roused and sent Unique Bella on her way. The gray daughter of Tapit strode out the definitive winner while finishing 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:43.11.
Unique Bella now sits in second on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard, having earned 50 points toward a Kentucky Oaks (G1) starting berth in the Santa Ysabel. The race is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races and offered 50-20-10-5 points to the top four finishers.
Unique Bella is tied with Farrell, who currently tops the Leaderboard, in terms of points (70) but is shy $33,000 of that rival in regards to non-restricted stakes earnings.
Abel Tasman was easily best of the rest in the Santa Ysabel, eight lengths in front of 26-1 third choice Spooky Woods. The Starlet Stakes (G1) winner earned 20 points while Spooky Woods took home 10 to make her debut on the Kentucky Oaks Leaderboard. Mistressofthenight completed the top four under the wire and was awarded five points.
Unique Bella is now 5-4-1-0 in her career with $342,400 in lifetime earnings. The Pennsylvania-bred miss dropped her initial start last June at Santa Anita but has since broken her maiden by 10 lengths, captured the Santa Ynez Stakes (G2) by 7 1/2 lengths and scored in the Las Virgenes Stakes (G2) by 8 3/4 lengths.
According to Hollendorfer, next up for the talented filly is the Santa Anita Oaks (G1) on April 8 going the Kentucky Oaks distance of nine furlongs.