11/09/2016 2:10PM

Keeneland November: Unrivaled Belle sells for $3.8 million to Mandy Pope


Unrivaled Belle will join Mandy Pope's star-studded broodmare band after selling for $3.8 million to take over as the top price at the Keeneland November breeding stock sale during Tuesday's second session.

The daughter of Unbridled's Song, who sold in foal to leading sire Tapit, was consigned by Eaton Sales, as agent. This was the mare's second seven-figure trip through an auction ring, as she sold for $2.8 million to Brushwood Stables at the 2011 Keeneland November sale following her retirement.

Pope has made major buys at auction over the last several years to build up a high-quality broodmare band; in the last four years, she has purchased Horse of the Year Havre de Grace ($10 million purchase at Fasig-Tipton November), two-time Eclipse Award champion Groupie Doll ($3.1 million, Keeneland November), and Kentucky Oaks winner Plum Pretty ($4.2 million, Keeneland November), among others. At this week's edition of Keeneland November, she has purchased three seven-figure lots, with Unrivaled Belle joining $1.4-million Princesa Silvia and $1.05-million Miss Empire; she purchased two other broodmares, Dance Quietly and Graeme Six, for $950,000 each.

"Alright, I am done shopping," Pope said after signing for Unrivaled Belle.

Grade 1-placed as a 3-year-old, Unrivaled Belle burst onto the national scene in 2010, when she first won the Grade 3 Rampart Stakes, then nosed out then-reigning Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra in the Grade 2 La Troienne Stakes at Churchill Downs. Later that season, she won the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic over a field that included eventual champions Blind Luck and Havre de Grace.

Unrivaled Belle was multiple Grade 1-placed the following season, and retired with a record of 14-6-6-1 and earnings of more than $1.8 million. As a broodmare, she is the dam of one starter to date from two foals of racing age, the placed juvenile Tapit filly Unique Bella. Don Alberto Corp., which owns Unique Bella, was the immediate underbidder on Unrivaled Belle before Pope out-dueled them.

"She's gorgeous," Pope said of her new acquisition. "We have good thoughts about the 2-year-old. Hopefully, she'll go on and do something. We'll breed [Unrivaled Belle] back to Tapit. What a hell of a racemare. She's a big-sized mare, rangy, good bone, but not overly huge. I think she's a good fit for Tapit."

-- Additional reporting by Joe Nevills