Unique Bella Overcomes Adversity in Clement L. Hirsch Stakes

Unique Bella winning the Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) - © Benoit Photo It’s beginning to seem as though the fantastic filly Unique Bella has a shadow named “drama” that follows her whenever and wherever she runs. Win or lose, there always seems to be something unusual or unexpected about her performances, and Saturday’s $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) at Del Mar was no exception. The race was supposed to be a mere workout for [...]

Unique Bella Stands Out in Clement L. Hirsch Stakes

Unique Bella - © Benoit Photo. She’s been almost unstoppable, winning eight of her eleven starts. Her rare defeats have come under extenuating circumstances. She’s got blazing early speed and can carry it around two turns, and she’s already won twice at the Grade 1 level. That’s why it’s not surprising to see a small field turn out to face #2 Unique Bella in Sunday’s $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes (gr. I) at Del Mar. Even with a [...]

2017: The 10 best races of the year

There’s been many fantastic performances in 2017. But for this piece, I’m more interested in the best, or most dramatic, contests. Have a look at all these – they’re worth repeated viewing.   10) Personal Ensign Stakes (1 1/8 miles, G1, Aug. 26, Saratoga, $700,000) Songbird had only been beaten once in 14 starts when she arrived at Saratoga. But she hadn’t been as impressive as usual in her two 2017 starts, and this time she had to face Forever [...]

Faithfully, Money’soncharlotte head Falls City Handicap

Money'soncharlotte will seek a graded stakes victory in the Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs. Photo: J J Zamaiko Photography. Denied twice in California this year, Faithfully heads east to search for her first graded stakes triumph in the Falls City Handicap (G2) at Churchill Downs on Thanksgiving Day. The Smart Strike filly stepped up to stakes company for the first time at Santa Anita in June, winning the ungraded Santa Lucia Stakes. She then took on the [...]

Stellar Wind freshened for third Distaff attempt

Abel Tasman (left) beats Elate in the Coaching Club American Oaks. The pair square off again in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Photo: Coglianese Photos/Chelsea Durand.   The Breeders’ Cup Distaff is the highlight of the year for dirt females, and it might possibly be third time lucky for Stellar Wind. The 5-year-old Virginia-bred mare has won 10 of her 15 starts, but two of her defeats have come in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. She finished a close second [...]

Secrets to California Chrome’s Success

California Chrome, in my mind the greatest Cal bred to ever race, had his penultimate event this past weekend at Los Alamitos. It all started for Chrome at Los Al, where he regularly trained before running in races at Santa Anita Park and Del Mar. There's no doubt that if Arrogate doesn't show up for the 1 1/8 mile Pegasus World Cup, Chrome will be the favorite. Even if Arrogate does show up, Chrome might be the favorite. In the [...]