Saturday, June 18, 2011

Unrivaled Belle retired too soon

Unrivaled Belle preparing for the 2010 Breeders' Cup Distaff
at Churchill Downs

Photo: Reed Palmer Photography/Churchill Downs
Unrivaled Belle, the late-developing filly who made racing fans take notice when she upset Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in last year's La Troienne-G2 at Churchill Downs, was retired today after flipping in the Belmont paddock prior to the Ogden Phipps-G1, in which she had been second choice in a field of five other handicap mares, including eventual victor Awesome Maria and Life at Ten, who won last year's running.  She fractured her withers in the unfortunate accident, but was able to walk back to trainer Bill Mott's barn under her own power.

When Unrivaled Belle recovers, she'll bring power and an enviable pedigree to the breeding shed.  She exits the racing stage with a bankroll of $1,854,706, with six wins in 14 starts, including the 2010 Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic-G1, in which she defeated Champion Three-Year-Old Filly Blind Luck and the highly regarded Saint Liam filly, Havre de Grace.  Though she was winless in her two starts this year, she had placed to Blind Luck in the La Troienne on the Kentucky Derby undercard, and was third to Awesome Maria in the Rampart-G3 at Gulfstream.  All in all, Unrivaled Belle was a model of consistency, hitting the board in 13 of her 14 starts; her lone miss was in her sole start over synthetics, when she was fourth in the La Canada-G2 at Santa Anita.

The second foal out of the multiple graded stakes-winning Bertrando mare, Queenie Belle, Unrivaled Belle was listed as a $260,000 sale at the 2007 Keeneland September sale, but she subsequently raced in the colors of her breeders, Peter Vegso and Gary Seidler.  With more than $1.6 million in earnings during her four-year-old season, she was the top earner for her sire, Unbridled's Song, in 2010, and his second best earner (behind Japanese stakes winner La Verita) ever, from 12 crops to race.

Interestingly, both Unrivaled Belle and Unbridled Elaine, another Breeders' Cup Distaff-winning daughter of Unbridled's Song, were produced from In Reality-line mares.  The cross also produced the Peter Vegso-raced Splendid Blended, who captured the Grade I Hollywood Starlet at two and the Vanity Handicap at three.  All three fillies are inbred to In Reality, a Brilliant/Classic Chef-de-Race who is the sire of Unbridled's second dam, Charedi.

Bill Mott described Unrivaled Belle as "a very talented race horse," and said that she will be sound for breeding.  We wish her the best.