Unrivaled Belle bests Blind Luck in BC Ladies' Classic
Friday, November 5, 2010
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Unrivaled Belle capped off a great 2010 with her best performance of the year in the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic (G1) as the 4-year-old daughter of Unbridled's Song held off Kentucky Oaks (G1) winner Blind Luck by 1 3/4-lengths to take the $2 million race under the lights at Churchill Downs (watch the Ladies' Classic replay).  Unrivaled Belle becomes the third Breeders' Cup winner for her sire, following 2008 Juvenile winner and eventual 2-year-old champ Midshipman and 2001 Distaff winner Unbridled Elaine.

Using her tactical speed, Unrivaled Belle was about fifth, within four lengths of the front-runners, while Blind Luck was at the back of the field. After a four furlongs in :49.09 seconds, Malibu Prayer still had the lead as the field going into the far turn. Jockey Kent Desormeaux sent Unrivaled Belle after the leaders at that point; she moved four wide to overhaul the pacesetters and struck the front at the quarter pole. Blind Luck took aim on Unrivaled Belle in the final furlong, but the gray/roan filly had plenty left in the tank and held her margin to the wire.

"She took me all the way to the three-sixteenths pole all by herself," said Desormeaux, who won the Ladies' Classic for the first time. "She was on the bridle all the way. I hadn't moved on her until then. I asked her, and she went. I saw Blind Luck on TV (monitor in the infield) coming at the three-sixteenths, and then I saw her again at the sixteenth-pole and she hadn't gained any ground on me. I was home then."

For trainer Bill Mott, there was both satisfaction and relief in the victory, “We were disappointed it took a while to get to the Grade 1 winner’s circle, but she did it at the right time,” Mott said. “The key was that she relaxed a little better today. When she put it in gear, she left them for dead at the eighth pole. It was over.”

Indeed, the Ladies' Classic marked the first Grade 1 victory for Unrivaled Belle, who earned $1,080,000. Over her career, the gray or roan 4-year-old filly is an excellent 6-5-0 in 12 lifetime starts.

Prior to the Breeders' Cup, Unrivaled Belle  had already had a very good year, going 2-3-0 in six starts, with a win over 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Grade 2 La Troienne at Churchill Downs on Apr. 30 and the Grade 3 Rampart H. at Gulfstream Park on Mar. 20. She was also second in the Beldame S., and Ogden Phipps and Ruffian Handicaps, all Grade 1 events.

Over her career, the gray or roan 4-year-old filly is an excellent 6-5-0 in 12 lifetime starts. Owners Peter Vegso and Gary Seidler purchased Unrivaled Belle at the 2007 Keeneland September yearling sale for $260,000. She is out of Queenie Belle, winner of the Grade 2 Lady's Secret Handicap.

Unbridled's Song is enjoying a typically strong year. The 17-year-old stallion ranked in the top 20 on the 2010 General sire list with progeny earnings of $5.16 million prior to the Breeders' Cup. Unrivaled Belle's victory will vault him well into the top 10.