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 [...]

Keeler Johnson’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff Top 10 – 7/9/18

Abel Tasman winning the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) - Coady Photography In recent years, we’ve been treated to some truly memorable renewals of the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (gr. I), and the 2018 edition at Churchill Downs is shaping up to be yet another terrific race. With a prospective field that’s packed with champions, Grade 1 winners, and intriguing up-and-comers, the Distaff should be among the highlights of this year’s Breeders’ Cup. Here’s how I rank the top contenders…. [...]

Distaff Division: Is It Only Unique Bella vs Abel Tasman?

Unique Bella winning the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) - Benoit Photo Now that the Triple Crown is over, it's time to turn our attention to the other divisions in horse racing.  The Handicap Division is an absolute mess. Who knows if the Bob Baffert trained West Coast returns to his previous glory days? In the Distaff Division, things are clearer.  The Top 2 horses in the Distaff Division are, no doubt, Unique Bella and Abel Tasman. But, [...]

How to Bet the Beholder Mile

Unique Bella winning the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) - Benoit Photo Saturday’s feature at Santa Anita Park is the $400,000 Grade 1 Beholder Mile.The race named for the star Richard Mandella trainee only drew a field of six, but it does not lack star power given the presence of Unique Bella, Vale Dori and Paradise Woods. Don Alberto Stable’s #6 Unique Bella makes her first start since a poor break led to a disappointing second place effort [...]

Keying Unique Bella in the Apple Blossom Handicap

Unique Bella winning the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) - Benoit Photo If you want to make a profit betting Friday’s $700,000 Apple Blossom Handicap (gr. I) at Oaklawn Park, then in all likelihood you’ll have to concede that #5 Unique Bella is probably unbeatable. The four-year-old daughter of Tapit has won seven of her nine starts for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer while showing flashes of pure brilliance and talent. Although some of her biggest victories have come in [...]

How to Bet the San Vicente Stakes

Saturday’s action at Santa Anita Park features three graded stakes events starting in Race 4 with the Grade 2 Santa Maria featuring Unique Bella and concluding in Race 6 with the Grade 2 San Vicente for three-year-olds. The San Vicente does not reward the top finishers with qualifying points on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” leaderboard, but has been used as a springboard onto bigger and better things by the likes of 1997 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner [...]

Keying Three Stakes Race Favorites at Santa Anita

Unique Bella winning the Santa Ynez Stakes (gr. II) - Benoit Photo Three graded stakes races are scheduled to be run on Saturday at Santa Anita, and at first glance, making a decent wagering score could be challenging. After all, each race features a standout runner that figures to be favored at a short price, so finding value in any one race won’t be easy. But since the three races are being run consecutively, there might be an [...]

Betting Exactas With the “All” Button

Bar of Gold defeating Ami's Mesa in the 2017 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (Photo by Ting Shen/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup) The “all” button. Sometimes, you’ll hear handicappers refer to the “all” button when they’re betting on a particularly tough race. For example, they might be playing a Pick 4 in which the last leg looks wide-open with a chance for a longshot winner, so rather than try to split hairs and bet on just a few horses, [...]