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2018 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes Contenders & Odds at Del Mar

Del Mar Thoroughbred Club – Don Alberto Stable’s champion filly Unique Bella, a winner of eight of eleven starts and worse than second only once in a brilliant career, figures to be an odds-on favorite Sunday when she heads a field of six older fillies and mares in the Grade I $300,000 Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at a mile and one-sixteenth on Del Mar’s main dirt track.

Post time for the first of nine races is 2 p.m. Also on the program is the $150,000 Fleet Treat Stakes at seven furlongs for California-bred three-year-old fillies.

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Bernina Star 10-1 Kent Desormeaux James Cassidy
2 Unique Bella 2-5 Mike Smith Jerry Hollendorfer
3 La Force (GER) 5-1 Drayden Van Dyke Patrick Gallagher
4 Turkish Tabby 20-1 Mario Gutierrez Jerry Hollendorfer
5 Shenandoah Queen 10-1 Joseph Talamo John Sadler
6 Yuvetsi 8-1 Tyler Baze John Sadler

Unique Bella, a four-year-old Pennysylvania-bred daughter of Tapit trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, will pack highweight of 123 pounds and concede four pounds versus Bernina Star, Kent Desormeaux; La Force, Drayden Van Dyke; Turkish Tabby, Mario Gutierrez; Shenandoah Queen, Joe Talamo, and Yuvetsi, Tyler Baze.

Unique Bella, who will be piloted by the only rider she’s ever had aboard in her career, Hall of Famer Mike Smith, broke her maiden at Del Mar in November of 2016 by ten and one-quarter lengths, beginning a streak of five consecutive dominating victories, including four stakes. That string of success was interrupted in the Breeders’ Cup Female Sprint last November when she broke slowly and faltered after setting a blistering pace to wind up seventh behind Bar of Gold.

Horse Racing Rebates

The filly returned to action in the La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita on opening-day, December 26, to win gamely over Paradise Woods, clinching an Eclipse Award as champion female sprinter of the year. She began 2018 with a nine-length triumph in the Santa Maria, was second to Unbridled Mo in the Apple Blossom over an “off” track and then won the Grade I Beholder Mile stylishly, pushing her earnings past the $1 million mark.

Yuvetsi comes into the Hirsch Stakes fresh from victory in the restricted Santa Lucia Stakes at Santa Anita, defeating Bernina Star by two and one-half lengths. La Force chased Unique Bella in the Beholder Mile, losing by two and one-quarter lengths as runner-up.

The Hirsch Stakes is part of the “Win and You’re In” series of Breeders’ Cup qualifying events with the winner securing an all-fees paid automatic berth in the BC Distaff at Santa Anita in November.

The Clement L. Hirsch is carded as the fifth race while the Fleet Treat Stakes will occupy the eighth spot on the program.

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