April 2017 Issue - page 10

Page 10
April 2017
Bred at Brushwood Stable, Unique Bella a Rising Star
to the Fasig-Tipton Keeneland
November breeding stock sales
where they acquired five highly
touted mares for a combined
$2.95 million. They purchased a
stunning 32 horses, including 21
broodmares. With a gross total in-
vestment of $10.64 million, Don
Alberto became the leading buyer
by expenditures at Keeneland, the
U. S.'s most prestigious sale, by
more than $5 million.
Established by Heller's
grandfather in 1987 in the city of
Los Angeles, Chile, Haras Don
Alberto was the first commercial
venture for the Heller-Solari
family. The company also owns
the historic Club Hipico de
Santiago racetrack. The Heller
family's expansive conglomerate
Bethia Holdings (named after the
company's first winning mare)
has business interests in airline,
retail, transportation, utilities,
health care, banking, television
operations, agriculture, wineries
and real estate.
Their 500-acre farm has
stood a number of notable stal-
lions on Southern Hemisphere
time, including Bluegrass Cat,
Dylan Thomas, Fusaichi Pega-
sus, Henrythenavigator, Proud
Citizen, Stevie Wonderboy, and
Stormin Fever.
Setting their sights on be-
coming a major player in racing
and breeding on a global scale,
Don Alberto's Kentucky farm
now includes a solid collection
of Grade 1- or Group 1-winning
mares, and youngsters by prom-
inent stallions such as England's
unbeaten champion Frankel.
At the racetrack, Don Alberto
employs top trainers Hollendor-
fer, Todd Pletcher, Chad Brown,
Bill Mott and John Gosden in
A Premier Breeder
A lifelong Chester County
resident, Betty Moran was a
state champion squash player
and a graduate of Mary Wash-
ington College with a biology
major. In 1951 she married the
late Maxwell Moran, and raised
six children. An accomplished
foxhunter, Moran is celebrated
for her longtime philanthropic
For more than two decades
her Brushwood Stable has been
ranked among the nation's pre-
mier equine auction buyers and
sellers. Primarily a thoroughbred
racing and breeding operation,
Brushwood has maintained a
stable in Europe and her U. S.
runners have been tutored by the
likes of Bill Mott, Todd Pletcher,
and Nick Zito.
Moran won the English
Grand National in 2000 with
Papillon, stamping her as one of
only nine American owners to
win the historic race, first run in
1839. In 1985, her Crème Fraic-
he became the only gelding to
win the Belmont. His time of
2:27 was then the second-fastest
since Secretariat. Hard Spun
became the first Kentucky
Derby runner bred by the farm.
He finished second in the 2007
Derby and the Breeders' Cup
Last November, 15 of
Brushwood's mares and wean-
lings went through the Keene-
land sale ring. The sale topper
was Unique Bella's dam, the
champion Unrivaled Belle who
brought $3.8 million. Miss Em-
pire (Grade-1 placed) sold for
$1,050,000. Both horses were
purchased by Mandy Pope's
Whisper Hill Farm in Kentucky.
Interestingly, Pope was bidding
against Don Alberto's Heller for
the big gray Unrivaled Belle.
Heller went to $3.75 million
before conceding to Pope.
Trained by Hall of Famer
Mott, Unrivaled Belle was the
winner of the 2010 Breeders’
Cup Distaff over champion Blind
Luck and the next season’s Horse
of the Year, Havre de Grace. In
2011 Moran bought Unrivaled
Belle at Keeneland as a brood-
mare prospect for $2.8 million
after the daughter of Unbridled's
Song out of Grade 2 winner
Queenie Belle earned $1.85
million while racing. To date,
Unrivaled Belle has produced
three foals.
Songbird Comparisons
After her performance in the
Santa Ysabel Stakes in February
racing fans started clamoring for
Unique Bella to run against the
boys in the 143rd Kentucky Der-
by. In that race the speedy gray
earned a 98 Beyer, higher than
any other 3-year old of either
“I'd like to keep Unique
Bella in California, just like I did
with Songbird last year,” said
Hollendorfer. “There's enough
money to run out here and run
against the girls, not the boys. I
think we'll try and run here and
if we'd be fortunate enough, we'd
point to the (Kentucky) Oaks.
“If an opportunity came to
do something else we'd probably
have to consider that, but I'd like
to keep her against the fillies if I
The 70-year old Hall of
Fame trainer acknowledged
he never seriously considered
running Songbird in the Ken-
tucky Derby last year and feels
the same about Unique Bella.
Another factor to consider is that
Songbird was far more experi-
enced at this stage of her career
than Unique Bella. Rick Porter's
filly had raced four times as a
juvenile before debuting in 2016
with a win in the Las Virgenes.
Unique Bella made only two
starts as a 2-year-old, and her
first two graded stakes wins have
come in the first two months of
As far as temperament,
Unique Bella has a more fiery
nature than does Songbird.
Hollendorfer's crew spent several
demanding days schooling the
filly in the Santa Anita paddock
to have her behaving properly
when race day rolled around. As
for Songbird, she usually needed
just one trip to the paddock prior
to a big race, which reflects her
easy-going nature.
Named the 2016 Champion
Three Year Old Filly, Songbird
has 11 wins from 12 starts with
earnings of $3,712,000. She was
given a two-month rest at Winstar
Farm in Kentucky after the tough
luck Breeders' Cup Distaff, her
first loss. Bigger and stronger,
Songbird rejoined Hollendorfer’s
Southern California barn in late
January and has been in steady
Though nothing is con-
firmed, Hollendorfer and Porter
are considering the $600,000
Apple Blossom Handicap at 1
1/16 miles at Oaklawn Park on
April 14. Porter suggested that
Songbird could run in the Ogden
Phillips at Belmont Park in June.
He scored a Delaware Oaks
victory (for 3-year old fillies)
with Zonk in 2001. He would like
to add the $750,000 Delaware
Handicap victory to his long
list of racing achievements. The
mile-and-a-quarter filly and mare
summer classic will be run for the
80th time on July 15. A Dela-
ware native, Porter lives not far
from Delaware Park.
(Continued from page 4)
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